ISSUE 72                                                                              December 31, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Tsai Administration's New Authoritarianism
Taking advantage of its majority in the Legislative Yuan, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan forcefully passed nine executive orders related to importing pork containing ractopamine.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

Ractopamine Pork: DPP Wins Legislative Battle, KMT to Challenge By Recall and Referendum

China Times, December 25, 2020


Four months after President Tsai Ing-wen’s sudden announcement to ease import restrictions on U.S. pork containing ractopamine and beef from cattle over 30 months old, the Legislative Yuan passed all 9 executive orders to allow such imports on Christmas Eve with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) majority in the Legislative Yuan. As a result, beginning from January 1, 2021, American pork containing ractopamine including viscera will be allowed to enter Taiwan market “legally” and can end up on the dinner table of Taiwanese people.


Immediately after President Tsai’s aforementioned announcement on August 28, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Council of Agriculture submitted nine executive orders opening such imports to the Legislative Yuan for approval, setting off a food safety storm.

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Featured Opinion
A notable scholar in Taiwan, former Vice President of the Judicial Yuan Su Yeong-chin believes that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen is seizing opportunities like national security and the pandemic to revive authoritarianism.
(Photo from: Fair Winds Foundation)

Reappearance of an Authoritarian Personality

By Su Yeong-chin

United Daily News, December 27, 2020


Growing up in an authoritarian eras, I can say with certainty that authoritarian control does not require continuous use of a large police force. What it really cannot do without is the universal authoritarian personality.


When the coronavirus (COVID-19) broke out in China’s Wuhan at the beginning of the year, a local writer Fang Fang recorded everything that happened in the city in the form of a diary, which exposed the world to the fear and helplessness of the people alongside the panic and bewilderment of the government. Her Weibo attracted tens of millions of people a day. Many took to it as a forum to vent and by shining a light on the situation, it also brought comfort. However, when the epidemic was brought under control three months later, various accusations arose accusing the writer of "disregarding the overall situation" and "pointing fingers, with state media attacking in droves." Her work was blacklisted. Those who cited her retracted their support or suddenly developed amnesia. This can hardly come as a surprise, but simply a manifestation of the authoritarian personality.


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Featured Opinion
The latest issue of Yazhou Zoukan (Asia Weekly) features a cover story about the "elected dictatorship" of President Tsai Ing-wen.
(Photo from: China Times)

Portrayal of Tsai as Elected Dictator Not Ungrounded

By Liu Hsin-yueh

China Times, December 25, 2020


The Ministry of Culture stipulated that effective February 1, 2021, publishers in Taiwan must apply for prior MOC approval before they publish books authorized by mainland China and converted from simplified and traditional Chinese script. Only then can the publishers obtain an identification number from the National Library Book Number Center and be eligible for tax exemption status. Effectively, Taiwan will retrogress to a bygone era of publication censorship.


From the middle of December on, the MOC requested that Taiwanese publishers ban the publication and removal of the mainland Chinese children’s picture book entitled  Waiting for Dad to Go Home with the theme of fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This can already be seen as the DPP administration’s decision to meddle in cultural affairs.

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This Week in Taiwan
A more serious variant of the coronavirus has been observed in the United Kingdom. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), announced that effective 12 AM on December 23, flights to and from London will be cut by half, and those entering from or traveled to Britain within 14 days must quarantine in a central location.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
December 20: Following the U.S. destroyer USS Martin's passage through the Taiwan Strait on December 19, China's aircraft carrier Shandong (CV-17) and four ships of its frigate forces sailed through the strait and continued to sail south. Taiwan's Armed Forces dispatched six warships and eight aircrafts to monitor the whole process. This is the second time that the Shandong aircraft carrier passed through the strait. According to the Ministry of National Defense, Shandong set sail south from Dalian Port in Liaoning Province and sailed through the strait on December 20. 
December 20: SCI Pharmatech, Inc., a publicly traded pharmaceutical company in Taoyuan, exploded in flames, leading to one death and one injury. Its factory occupying 10,300 ping (about 366,506 square feet) was burned to ashes, and the fire spread to five neighboring factories, including a paper mill. Financial losses are estimated to be NT$1.75 billion (about US$62 million). 
SCI Pharmatech is a member of the national pharmaceuticals production team. President Tsai Ing-wen previously visited the factory in Taoyuan, thanking the company for donating 1 metric ton of quinine ingredients to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to assist with epidemic prevention efforts. 
December 22: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the CECC, announced that Taiwan added a domestic case of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the source of contraction is not unknown. Accordingly, the government will not prohibit large-scale New Year celebration activities, but attendees must confirm to five basic rules, including wearing masks, bringing their mobile phones, reporting names and phone numbers, and not selling food and beverages at the venues. Those with symptoms and those asked to self-monitor their health must not attend the events. Violators may be fined up to NT$1 million (about US$35,547).
December 24: A male captain of New Zealand nationality affiliated with Taiwan's EVA Air (Case 765) did not wear a mask on board and after quarantining for three days recklessly traveled and shopped in northern Taiwan with his girlfriend. His girlfriend was confirmed positive with coronavirus (Case 771), breaking the 253-day streak of no domestic cases. The captain was fined NT$300,000 for (about US$10,664) for false compliance and causing a loophole in epidemic prevention. 
EVA Air apologized to the public on December 23 and moved to dismiss the New Zealand captain from employment effective the same day. 
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced that EVA Air will be fined NT$1 million (about US$35,547) for failing to implement epidemic prevention measures among crew members and not fulfilling its duty of oversight. 
December 25: The Ministry of the Interior originally planned to pilot a new digital version of national identification cards in New Taipei, Penghu, and Hsinchu City, but following the withdrawal of the first two local governments, the Hsinchu City Government stated that it would suspend the program before privacy and security concerns are addressed. The Executive Yuan stated that digital identification cards will only be fully implemented once security concerns are resolved and with the trust of the people. 
December 27: Responding to the emergence of a more widely transmitted variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the CECC, announced that effective 12 AM on December 23, flights to and from London will be cut by half, and those entering from or who have traveled to Britain within the last 14 days, must quarantine in a central location. The 127 China Airlines passengers returning from London to Taiwan must quarantine from a central location and be tested before and after their isolation.
Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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