ISSUE 90                                                                                        May 13, 2021
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


Gang Members, Factional Infighting Undermine Image of Taiwan's Ruling DPP
Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is beset with a crisis involving allegations that criminal gang members have taken control of the party, seriously undermining the self-proclaimed image of the DPP. Pictured above is Huang Cheng-kuo, a Central Standing Committee member of the DPP and an important figure of the faction supporting President Tsai Ing-wen but who has a gang background.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)
Featured Opinion

Gang Members Sends DPP into Governance Crisis

By Cheng Song-shan

The Storm Media, May 8, 2021


It started with a few emboldened men wearing black who during daytime broke into the Zhonglun branch police station of the Songshan Precinct in Taipei and maliciously smashed computer monitor yet without legal investigation of this “Songshan Riot.” The ambiguous relationship between the police and criminal gang members, utter lack of police discipline, and public disorder showcases persistent in-fighting among high-ranking police as well as officials within the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This news was followed by the involvement of Chao Chieh-yu, son of Chao Ying-kuang, former convener of the review committee of the DPP’s Taipei branch, in a drug-dealing scandal. These events exposed the DPP’s vicious factional infighting and  have devastated the otherwise positive social image of the DPP.


Although the ruling DPP superficially dealt with this case to stop the political bleeding, Huang Cheng-kuo, a national policy advisor to President Tsai Ing-wen and member of the DPP’s Central Standing Committee, was also affected by the scandal of the younger Chao. With Huang’s gang background and long control of the DPP’s Taipei branch lifted, an uproar in the city thus ensued, forcing President Tsai, who concurrently serves as the DPP’s chairwoman, to apologize publicly and request the party branch to implement its gang exclusion policy for all future prospective members, candidates, and campaign staff of the party.

Featured Editorial
As chairwoman of the DPP, President Tsai apologized to the public for her party's failure to implement a "gang exclusion clause" and admission of gang members to the DPP, which have caused disturbances to society.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

If the President Loved Democracy as Deeply as She Protected Party

United Daily News Editorial, May 7, 2021


The family of Chao Chieh-you, which was presumed to be an organized crime syndicate, involved itself in the gang members controversy. It has seriously bruised the image of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). As chairwoman of the DPP, President Tsai Ing-wen apologized for not implementing the party clause meant to combat organized crime, as stipulated in the party platform, and accused her own party of reemergent factional struggles. President Tsai did not say a word about breakdown in police discipline, instead she hastily ordered the DPP to remedy the damage to its reputation; in contrast, she seemed to be more concerned about her ruling DPP rather than the whole nation, her roles evidently conflicted as a result.


This was the exact reason that President Tsai's apology seemed to be so insincere. From the chaotic situation in Taipei’s Songshan District to that in Beitou District, what people saw was a degraded police discipline, hook-up between the organized crime syndicates and the police, and civilians who have been intimidated, among others. As a result, democracy and the rule of law were tarnished simultaneously. However, as the DPP’s chairwoman, President Tsai conveniently chose to apologize for "non-eradication of the organized crime" issue at the DPP Standing Committee. She sought to evade the issue rather than face it. She scolded the factions in the DPP for "the old problem of power struggles," as if it had nothing to do with her; in fact, she has been the coordinator and distributor of the DPP's factional interests. The Taipei branch of the DPP has recruited gang members, included some of them as key players under the umbrella of "pro-Tsai faction" in the DPP and made one of them as Presidential National Policy, hasn’t it?

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Featured Editorial
DPP Legislator Su Chiao-hui, daughter of Premier Su Tseng-chang, proposed amendments to the Referendum Act. According to media commentary, besides setting stricter requirements for signatures, her bill also adds a mechanism to nullify a petition altogether, completely stifling the possibility of a successful referendum.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

DPP Puts Chains on Already Caged Referendum

United Daily News Editorial, May 8, 2021


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chiao-hui, the daughter of Premier Su Tseng-chang, recently sponsored a bill to amend the Referendum Act. In addition to requiring co-signers to attach a photocopy of their identity cards, there will also be a threshold for the percentage of “unqualified signatures.” Any referendum that exceeds this threshold will be invalid. In 2019, the ruling DPP amended the Referendum Act decoupling the referenda with elections, which is equivalent to undermining voter participation and shutting the referendum within an iron cage. Today, Legislator Su’s proposal would eliminate the possibility of establishing new referenda, adding chains to the cage. From a ”promoter” of the referendum, the DPP has now become a referendum “terminator.”


For a referendum case to be declared as void, there are two thresholds regarding the rate of unqualified counter-signatures. Either the number of deleted signatures reaches 30,000, or it is more than 10 percent of the total signatures. If we take a look at the nine referendum cases in 2018, and the “restarting the 4th Nuclear Power Plant” referendum this year, only two of them had unqualified signatures under 10 percent, and all 10 referendum cases had over 30,000 unqualified counter-signatures. In other words, once the new law passes, none of these 10 referendum cases would have been successful. Clearly, Su’s proposal would put an end to all future referenda.

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This Week in Taiwan
The Executive Yuan announced a plan of pushing the CPC Corporation's proposed third natural gas receiving station further outward, but referendum petitioner Pan Chung-cheng stated that this extrapolation plan still presents ecological damage concerns.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
May 3: In response to the dispute surrounding the algae reef referendum, the Executive Yuan announced some changes to the extrapolation plan of the CPC Corporation's third natural gas terminal. The government plans to push out the industrial port by an additional 455 meters, or approximately 1.2 kilometers from the shore, without dredging or damaging the algal reef. But project completion will be delayed by 2.5 years and supply natural gas June 2025, with an increased budget of NT$15 billion (about US$541 million). 
However, referendum petitioner Pan Chung-cheng stated that the extrapolation plan cannot solve the problem of poor sea conditions, and large-scale development in a ecologically sensitive area still poses concerns of damaging the local habitat. 
May 4: Zhou Xian, a 33-year-old mainland Chinese man, crossed the Taiwan Strait from Shishi, Fujian Province, using a military-grade rubber boat and reached Taichung Port in 13 hours. This is the first instance of illegal travel by a rubber boat across the strait from mainland China to Taiwan. Zhou was discovered by workers at Taichung Port. Zhou claims that he is drawn by Taiwan's freedom and democracy and bought a rubber boat from Taobao to come to Taiwan. After interrogation by the prosecution, he is currently detained in isolated quarantine. 
On May 4, the Coast Guard caught a mainland smuggler in Kinmen who also used a rubber boat purchased online. But the man was tracked by inter-shore radar throughout the process, and the Coast Guard was already waiting for the man on the shore before he landed. 
May 4: Senior police officials, including Chief Chen Jia-chang of the Taipei Police Department, attended a dinner reception for volunteer police on May 3 in Zhongshan District, Taipei. The event was attended by some 700 people. Two men in black went to the lobby counter and threw two bags containing thousands of cockroaches before they escaped. The "chaos of cockroaches" became a national spotlight. Police investigation found that the suspected act may be due to money disputes involving the business owner. Five suspects were arrested on May 4. 
May 4: The Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) headquartered in Washington announced President Tsai Ing-wen as the winner of the 2020 John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service. President Tsai stated that her award does not represent her individual but is the glory of all Taiwanese people. She emphasized that democracy and freedom are medals upon which Taiwan stands in the world. 
The government of Canada, worried about angering China, threatened to cancel its annual sponsorship of $3 million CAD to the organization. With the support of the Canadian House of Representatives, the prime minister decided that the sponsorship would continue.
May 5: The involvement of Chao Chie-yu, a former representative of the Taipei branch of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in a drug scandal is hurting the party's image. In her capacity as DPP chairwoman, President Tsai Ing-wen apologized. She stated that the existing anti-gangster clauses were not properly implemented, allowing unqualified members to join the party and causing social tumult. 
Chairman Yu Ing-lung of the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation indicated that President Tsai has served as DPP chairwoman for nine years now. The issue of gang members within the party happened during her leadership of the party. If she is really sorry, then Tsai should take the initiative to resign as chairwoman in order to assume responsibility.
May 6: In a cabinet meeting, the Executive Yuan passed expanding infertility subsidies, increasing the number of birth tests to 14 times, and raising subsidies for non-paid maternity leave to 80 percent. The government plans to invest a budget of NT$10 billion (about US$370 million) to respond to the demographic crisis of declining birth rates. 
May 6: On April 16, men wearing black broke into the Zhongrun precinct in Songshan District, Taipei, and destroyed computers containing evidence, but the surveillance footage was deleted by the precinct director, stirring public uproar. On May 2, the Taipei City Police Department released to the public three video footages, containing key video of 10 men in black carrying metal chairs smashing the computers on the police duty desk and being evicted by the police. 
The precinct director and deputy director involved in the case were submitted to further investigation for destroying evidence, and the 10 men wearing black were also submitted to the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office for obstructing governmental operation. Because the police previously shook hands to reconcile with gang members following the incident, city council members are asking the Taipei City Government to conduct a thorough investigation. 
May 6: In the communique after their meeting on May 5, foreign ministers of Group of Seven (G7) countries expressed support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) forums. The Senate of France also passed a unanimous resolution on May 6 with 304 votes in favor to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations. This is the first time that a pro-Taiwan bill passed unanimously in the French Senate. 
May 7: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 24 will be held by video conference. In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the United States called upon Director-General Tedros Adhanom of the WHO to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer. According to Blinken, Taiwan provides valuable experience in epidemic prevention, and the exclusion of 24 million people from participating in the WHA only undermines global health objectives. 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the government, Congress, and people of the United States for supporting Taiwan's participation in the WHO and invites more countries to work together with Taiwan to surpass politics and jointly defend the health and safety of humankind.
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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