ISSUE 85                                                                                         April 8, 2021
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● Featured Opinion: 
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Taiwan Train Accident Results in 50 Innocent Deaths
A Taroko Express train operated by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) recently derailed near Qingshui Tunnel in Hualien due to a construction truck that fell down a slope onto the tracks. This is the deadliest train collision accident in Taiwan's history.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

50 Dead, 216 Injured in Taiwan’s Most Serious Train Crash

United Daily News, April 3, 2021


On April 2, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) saw a serious train accident with the most casualties in history. The No. 408 Taroko Express train carried a large number of homebound passengers to Hualien and Taitung for the Qingming Festival long weekend. The train drove on the East Main Line and at a distance of 50 meters to the Qingshui Tunnel, the train collided into a 10-ton crane truck that accidentally slid down from the bank slope above the railroad track. The train went out of control and derailed to the left, hurtled into the tunnel, hit the tunnel wall, leaving many carriages severely twisted and mangled.


The violent impact caused the 5th and 6th cars of the train to disjoin, and the 4th to 8th all stuck in the tunnel, causing 50 deaths, of which 49 were identified. They include one French citizen Charles Deguyenro, and two United States citizens Rey Su and Ying Ying Luo. Additionally, 216 people, including one mainland Chinese, one Australian and two Japanese, sustained injuries. The youngest deceased was only six years old.

Featured Editorial
According to media commentary, after a major accident two years ago, reforms proposed in the TRA's review report failed to realize, resulting in yet another catastrophic transportation tragedy. The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen should assume the political responsibility. Pictured above is Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

For Accountability, Transportation Minister Should Step Down

China Times, April 3, 2021


The Taroko Express, an express train service of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), derailed on April 2, causing 51 deaths and 188 injuries, making it the worst rail disaster in history. This incident shocked Taiwanese society and made the public sad and angry.


In appearance, this is caused by the contractor of the slope remediation not implementing the vehicle safety measures. But if we dig deeper, this is the result of the TRA’s organizational culture, which has always been muddling along. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has not committed to reform is another major factor.

read more



Featured Opinion
Anti-Asian violence is on the rise in the United States. In New York, the anti-Asian hate crime figure during the first quarter of 2021 is equivalent to the full-year figure last year (2020). Many parts of the United States have seen demonstrations protesting discrimination against Asian Americans.
(Photo from: China Times)

Geopolitics and Anti-Asian Violence

By Jason J.H. Yeh

China Times, April 2, 2021


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic broke out in the United States last year, crimes against Asian Americans increased significantly during this period of time. Asians wearing mouth masks became targets of verbal and physical bullying. Since the beginning of this year, I thought that after the pandemic slowed down and President Donald Trump left office, the violence against Asians would be mitigated. Unexpectedly, the fact shows that crimes against Asian Americans in the first quarter of this year in New York are equivalent to the numbers of the entire year last year.


Six of the eight dead in the serial shootings in Atlanta on March 16 were Asian American women. On March 27, about 60 cities across the United States held anti-Asian American parades. In the wake of the parades, ironically, there were several reported attacks of Asian Americans on the subway and streets of New York City.

read more



This Week in Taiwan
President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau and his wife recently visited Taiwan. U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland accompanied the delegation.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
March 28: The delegation of President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau arrived in Taiwan to begin his five-day, four-night visit. This is the first visit to Taiwan by a foreign head of state since the global pandemic. To the surprise of many, John Hennessey-Niland, United States ambassador to Palau, and his wife also accompanied the visiting delegation. This is the first visit to Taiwan by an American ambassador in 43 years since the two countries severed official diplomatic relations. 
March 29: A man kicked and battered a 65-year-old Asian woman on New York street and expressed anti-Asian remarks. His conduct was recorded by video cameras, and the man was arrested by police. This is the latest incident of anti-Asian violence in the United States. Hate incidents towards Asian people in the United States have become frequent, triggering demonstrations on March 27 across 25 states and 60 cities, including Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Portland, demanding an end to anti-Asian violence. According to Taiwanese expatriates participating in a demonstration, this is the first time in years that Asians appear so united. 
March 30: There is a major breakthrough in the case where the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau lost 6.5 kilograms of acetylods last year. After a four-month search of the Taipei terminal, it is now suspected that Hsu Su-liang, a former logistics team leader, long acted as an internal rat, using his official position to provide drugs to various cartels. On March 29, investigators went to Hsu's "treasury" and seized more than NT$50 million (about US$1.7 million) cash, tens of Rolex watches, and hundreds of brand-name bags. It is suspected that these are illicit gains due to drug trafficking.
March 31: The National Communications Commission (NCC) approved CTS News to claim channel 52, which was previously occupied by CtiTV News before its licnse was revoked nearly four months ago, attracting criticism. According to the NCC, the parent Chinese Television System (CTS) promises to expand its workforce from 160 to 400 within three years and turn a profit on its finances. Some 1.2 million viewers will be able to view the channel as soon as the middle of April.
April 1: The first Taiwan-Palau tour group of four days, three nights departed. There were a total of 100 participants, of which 20 people registered self-funded, and the other participants were  paid by official institutional funds. While the government has been vigorously publicizing tourism in Palau, public response has been poor. Only 10 people registered for the second tour group. Primary reasons include excessively high costs including registration fees, five-day quarantine upon return to Taiwan, in addition to self-health management of nine days. 
April 3: The tenure of Director Brent Christensen of the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) is set to end this summer. Sandra Oudkirk, the deputy assistant secretary of the United States Department of State, will likely take over as the first female director of AIT. Oudkirk is a senior career diplomat of the State Department whose first foreign post in her diplomatic career was Taiwan. In 2019 when Taiwan lost two diplomatic allies, she led a delegation to Taiwan to attend the first Pacific dialogue and express  support for Taiwan. 
April 3: According to news reporting by the official CCTV, Xi Jinping, in his capacity as general-secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, expressed deep concern over the heavy casualties caused by the derailment of a train in Taiwan. Xi expressed heartfelt condolences  to the surviving family as well as injured compatriots, hoping that the injured can recover soon. 
This is the first instance since the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 that Xi expressed condolences over a disaster in Taiwan. In response, Spokesman Chang Chun-han of the Office of the President stated that Taiwan has taken note of the concern by the leader across the strait. He thanks everyone at home, abroad, and across the strait for their concern.
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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