Local Councilor Recalled in First Battle Against Ractopamine Pork
Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu, who has supported importing pork containing ractopamine, was successfully recalled and may become the first of the domino effect from Taiwan's controversial policy on ractopamine pork. Pictured above are supporters cheering at the headquarters pushing for Wang's recall.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Taoyuan Councilor Recalled, First Domino Effect of Controversial Ractopamine Pork Policy
United Daily News, January 17, 2021
The Central Election Commission announced that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Taoyuan City Councilman Wang Hao-yu’s recall was passed. The result of the vote was 84,582 in favor versus 7,128 against Wang’s removal. The turnout rate was 28.14 percent. Since the number of valid votes for approval was more than the votes of disapproval, and the votes for approval were more than one-fourth of the total number of voters in the original electoral district, Wang was successfully recalled.
As it appears, Councilman Wang is the first ousted city councilor in a special municipality. According to the Election and Recall law, if the recall proposal is passed, the recalled person shall be relieved of his post from the date of the announcement and shall not be a candidate for the same public office within four years. In response to the whole situation, Wang wrote on his fan page, “I want to sincerely thank all my supporters, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
After the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) reclaimed power in 2016, it frequently amended the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act and Referendum Act to help it govern. But this has also turned the recall and referendum into tools for inciting social division.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Who Made Recalls Driven by Hatred?
United Daily News Editorial, January 18, 2021
The recall of Taoyuan City Councilman Wang Hao-yu perhaps falls short of a truly satisfying victory, but it strikes a blow against those that merely govern with lip service rather than actions. In the age of the internet, those who are performative and outspoken might find themselves media darlings overnight, especially after the Sunflower Movement. However, Wang failed to live up to the hype and was dismissed with five times the number of votes he received when elected, a testament to the distaste that the voters of Zhongli in Taoyuan had for their representative.
The recall also exposed the weakness of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) overly speculative strategy, which finally caught up to them. Councilman Wang was first elected as a member of the Green Party, but after seeing the success of the DPP in elections last year joined up with them instead. The DPP appeared to have no qualms with this behavior and embraced him in the party, valuing his quick wit and wordplay on the political stage. Who could have foreseen that just one year later Wang would become the first councilman in Taiwan to be deposed. If his initial betrayal of the Green Party showed him to be a faithless operator, how does that reflect on the DPP’s willingness to bring him in?
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the United States described Taiwan as "Free China," but the statement made the DPP, which essentially supports Taiwan independence and rejects the identity of "China," rather awkward and unsure about how to respond. (Photo from: China Times)
Is Taiwan “Free China”?
By Pan Chung
China Times, January 15, 2021
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, desirous of allying Taiwan to confront China, used the term “Free China” to praise Taiwan even at the cost of losing his portfolio. What he did was most embarrassing to Taiwan, “Free China” is term never heard of by the young people in Taiwan. What is more intriguing, the euphonic praise made the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shudder and silent, not knowing how to respond. Actually, if we ask ourselves earnestly, is Taiwan really qualified to claim the title of “Free China?”
The DPP administration has shut down a critical television news station, tightened regulations on referenda, oppressed dissenters. Does Taiwan really have free speech? Besides, for de-Sinicization, DPP administration amended textbook, changed passports, repainted China Airlines aircraft logo, denied the “1992 Consensus”, and even not dare to utter the official name of the “Republic of China”. As such, can Taiwan be qualified for claiming itself China?
President Joe Biden will prioritize domestic issues within the United States and may not give much attention to the present circumstances facing Taiwan. (Photo from: United Daily News)
Biden to Face Realities Domestic and Foreign
By Su Chi
United Daily News, January 17, 2021
It was difficult enough for Joe Biden to come to power in the United States. His days in the White House are likely to be even more strenuous, because he is about to take over a nation bedeviled by serious pandemic, divided society, wide wealth gap, and declining dominance on the world stage. Hence President Biden will likely focus more on domestic matters than on foreign affairs, and place internal issues before external relations.
His first challenge is the COVID-19 pandemic. When Biden appointed Lloyd Austin as his secretary of defense, who would be the first African-American to lead the Pentagon, he gave several reasons why he made the choice. The first was based on Austin’s successful experience overseeing the withdrawal of 150,000 troops from Iraq ten years earlier. And he is needed now to “immediately quarterback an enormous logistics operation to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines widely and equitably.” The second was to “ensure the well-being and resilience of our service members and their families strained by almost two decades of war.” The third was to “reflect and promote the full diversity of our nation.” The last was to “defend the American people.” Biden’s order of priority could not be clearer.
The United States recently released a "Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific" advocated by the administration of President Donald Trump. The document encourages Taiwan to develop asymmetric defense capabilities and calls for India to strengthen its national standing in order to combat China. (Photo from: The Storm Media)
January 13: The United States National Security Council released the classified "U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific." The document clearly indicates: "defending the first island-chain nations, including Taiwan." The strategic framework also mentions defending Taiwan against Chinese invasion and enabling Taiwan to develop an effective asymmetric defense strategy and capabilities, as well as strengthening and accelerating the rise of India to help it become a vital partner in combating China.
January 14: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was originally scheduled to visit Europe on January 13, but due to rejection by officials from Luxembourg and the European Union, the State Department canceled all foreign visit trips on the grounds of ensuring a smooth transition of power. The proposed visit to Taiwan by Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft was also canceled as a result.
Ambassador Craft participated in a video conference with President Tsai Ing-wen. During the virtual meeting, President Tsai stated Taiwan's desire to participate in the United Nations and related meetings and activities. Craft responded with regret that due to interference by China, Taiwan is unable to share its progress in technology and public health in the international arena like the United Nations and the World Health Assembly.
January 14: With the advent of digitization, the 34-year-old well-known political news magazine,
the Journalist, announced the end of its print publication after the final issue on February 4.
The Journalist is the second major news magazine in Taiwan, after
Next Magazine, to transform from a print publication to Internet media.
January 15: Last year, it was exposed that Ting Yun-kung, former spokesman of the Office of the President, was involved in a sex scandal from 2014 and 2017 when he served as director-general of the Information Bureau of the Kaohsiung City Government. Upon investigation, Control Yuan members Chi Hui-jung and Wang Mei-yu concluded that Ting's behavior constitutes sexual harassment and hurt the credibility of government and image of public officials. The Control Yuan voted 11-0 to impeach Ting, and the case will be transferred to the Disciplinary Court for review.
January 16: Professor Graham Allison of Harvard University, who is an important advisor to incoming President Joe Biden, stated in an interview by TVBS that "One Country, Two Systems" has come to an end. Biden understands that there is only one China; an independent country of Taiwan does not exist; and the United States will not recognize Taiwan's independence. Biden's challenge is to devise a new strategy in dealing with the Taiwan Strait and improve trilateral relations.
January 17: A hospital in Taiwan saw an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on January 12. A doctor (case 838) contracted the virus through taking care of seriously infected patients and infected his girlfriend caregiver (case 839). This is the first incidence in Taiwan of a doctor confirmed with the coronavirus. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) launched the largest testing since the pandemic, testing some 2,500 individuals, including 2,200 from the hospital plus outsource employees, as part of a general screening. On January 16, another caregiver (case 852) was confirmed with the coronavirus. She previously worked alongside case 838 at a care station for an hour. On January 17, another doctor (case 856) was confirmed with the coronavirus. He had contact with case 838 on January 10. The CECC identified this as a group transmission within the hospital, closed its wards, and mandated that all its medical staff quarantine at home. Update: As of January 21, the virus outbreak at the hospital in Taoyuan continues to expand. There are currently ten people tested positive for the coronavirus.