ISSUE 101                                                                                      July 29, 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 Olympic Athletes Assailed by Cyber Army After Tsai Administration Apologizes for Economy Flight
President Tsai Ing-wen apologized for breaching her past promise that Taiwan's Olympic delegation would travel in business class, but she let the Internet army friendly to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attack badminton star Tai Tzu-ying, raising criticisms of a two-handed strategy.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

Olympic Delegation Athletes Fly Economy Class, While Officials Fly Business Class, Stirring Controversy

China Times, the Storm Media, and United Daily News, July 20, 2021


The Chinese Taipei delegation to the Tokyo Olympics departed for Japan on July 19. Tai Zi-ying, the world badminton queen posted an article in social media mentioning the good old time when she flew business class with EVA Air. From a selfie she took, it was found that she had to win the honor for the country but was seated in economy class rendering her fans all over the country with tremendous surprise. Her Facebook post became the target of attack by the cyber army, among thousands of messages were found a group of suspicious false accounts frantically attacking her with all sarcasms, ruthlessly criticizing her complaint of seating in economy class as macrocephaly.


Tai, together with the Chinese Taipei delegation, left Taipei’s Songshan Airport for Tokyo Olympics July 19 afternoon. Through her Instagram limited time dynamics posting, it was found unexpectedly that all athletes were seated at economy class, even their staying hotel was ranked three stars old hotel, setting up heated discussions. Despite President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai, Premier Su Tseng-chang and Ministry of Education (MOE), one after another apologized for this episode, the general public became enraged.

Featured Opinion
According to a commentator, the pro-DPP cyber army is extremely arrogant. In addition to arbitrarily defaming non-DPP individuals within Taiwan, the cyber army has repeatedly launched international incursions, even targeting the World Health Organization (WHO) and the New York Times. But the political stance of the Internet forces increasingly differs from the true public opinion in Taiwan.
(Photo from: Fair Winds Foundation)

Stealthy Cyber Army Hitting the Wall

By Liao Yuan-hao

China Times , July 24, 2021


Taiwan’s Olympic team athletes, bearing the expectations and blessings of the people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, flew to Tokyo to participate in the games. However, President Tsai Ing-wen’s promise that “Taiwan’s Olympic national team athletes will all fly in business class” didn’t materialize. All the athletes on the chartered flight flew in economy class while ranking officials in business class.


That the officials are more important than athletes is a common phenomenon in Taiwan. This time it attracted special concerns for it was formally promised by President Tsai. Moreover, because the well-loved badminton world champion star Tai Tzu-ying posted in Instagram that “she missed traveling on EVA Air’s business class,” which immediately ignited public uproar. A lot of people took up the cudgels for the bad arrangement, and a lot of criticisms laid the blame on President Tsai on the internet. President Tsai, who seldom admitted mistakes, responded quickly, expressing regrets and apologies on Facebook. At the beginning, I thought it would be enough to make such a humble apology with the respect of a president. Unexpectedly, Tai later posted a photo of her hotel room on Instagram, causing dissatisfaction to many netizens. She was accommodated at a hotel with a 3.3-star rating by Google, while officials from the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education, stayed at a 4.6-star rating hotel.

read more



Featured Opinion
According to a scholar, the Tsai administration has frequently used a cyber army to attack those with opposing views, even smearing rivals with the label of Communist Chinese fellows. These actions have torn Taiwanese society, widening social rifts that remain difficult to heal.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Friend, Are You Really Leaving the Group Chat?

By Su Herng

United Daily News, July 24, 2021


During this period of time, messages such as “I’m leaving because I disagree” have been appearing in group chats among friends or old classmates. Years of friendship thrown away as some snap emotionally before exiting the chatroom, while others may simply leave without a word. When asked in private why they had left the group chat, the most common answer is because of quarrels due to posts on different political views. Yet, is it worth fighting and hurting friendships over these posts?


In the early days of social media, many believed that tremendous growth of global connections would benefit the democratic system. However, those believers are now no longer optimistic. As social media is presently used universally with the addition of the share and feedback functions, a long list of setbacks have emerged and are still increasing.

read more



This Week in Taiwan
The Ministry of Health and Welfare intends to remove the identifiers for emergency use authorization (EUA) committee members who reviewed domestic Medigen vaccines. Lee Ping-ing, who convenes the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), further indicated that most ACIP members also run domestically produced vaccines, leading to suspicion that committee members wear the hats of both player and referee.
(Photo from: China Times)
July 19: It was reported that 15 people violated epidemic prevention regulations and gathered to dine at a luxury resort in Pingtung. The group included Executive Director Chen Cheng-wen of the Executive Yuan's Southern Taiwan Joint Services Center. For this, Chen on July 18 tendered his resignation, which was approved. On July 19, the Health Bureau of the Pingtung County Government imposed a fine of NT$100,000 (about US$3,570) against each of the 15 people who dined unlawfully. 
July 19: The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), completed an expert review meeting and approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) application for Medigen vaccines. The government will allow domestic Medigen vaccines to be manufactured, and small quantities will become available as soon as the middle of August. 
Taiwan's Medigen vaccine is the world's first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine officially approved by immuno-bridging, before completing third-phase clinical trials. 
Chairman Johnny Chiang of the Kuomintang (KMT) went to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office to bring claims against Minister Chen and the MOHW for profiteering. According to Chiang, the procurement of up to NT$4 billion (about US$142 million) of Medigen vaccines fail to meet international standards, and he hopes that the judiciary will undertake an investigation. 
July 20: Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu announced that after careful consultation with the government of Lithuania, Taiwan will set up a Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, in the capital city of Vilnius. This is the first time since the representative office in Slovakia in 2003, or 18 years, that Taiwan is establishing another representative office in Europe. It is also Taiwan's first representative office which uses the name of "Taiwan" in a country that has diplomatic ties with mainland China. 
July 21: Huang Shu-kuang, who stepped down as chief of staff of the Armed Forces on July 1, accepted an exclusive interview with United Daily News and revealed many behind-the-scenes observations of promoting domestic submarine production. He revealed that the biggest obstacle behind building the national submarine industry is not only the international political pressure imposed by mainland China but more so the hindrance of people from within Taiwan. In order to promote domestic submarine production, Huang said that he did not hesitate to block the way of people and money and insisted that submarines be designed and produced by Taiwan.
July 21: The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation announced that it has concluded a contract with China's Fosun Pharma procuring 5 million doses of BioNTech vaccines, all of which the charity organization will donate to the government. In a Facebook post, President Tsai Ing-wen again thanked the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) and Yongling Foundation, as well as Tzu Chi for their joint efforts. The 15 million doses of BioNTech vaccines will be authorized by the Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, for emergency import, and minors from age 12 to 18 will be included as vaccination subjects. 
July 22: Recently, China's Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, has experienced heavy rain and flooding. On July 21, Spokesman Chang Chun-han of the Office of the President relayed President Tsai's condolences. According to Chang, President Tsai expressed condolences to the people who lost their lives as well as their families and hoped that the affected areas would soon return to normal life. 
Spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, State Council, responded that the mainland is grateful to all relevant parties in Taiwan who expressed their concern and condolences to the disaster-stricken areas, including Taiwanese businesses which have donated money and materials. 
Foxconn, a Taiwanese business which manufactures Apple smartphones and has three plants in Zhengzhou employing about 350,000, announced a donation of 100 million yuan (about US15.4 million) to help the disaster victims. About half of the world's iPhones are produced in Zhengzhou. 
July 22: The MOHW would like to remove the identifiers related to EUA review records of Medigen vaccines, stirring serious controversy. Lee Ping-ing, the convener of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), said in an online news interview that many committee members participated or presided over the clinical trials of Medigen and other domestic vaccines. 
Deputy Director-General Huang Tzu-che of the KMT's Culture and Communications Committee, described Lee as opening a Pandora's box and questioned how many of the 17 ACIP members also hosted clinical trials for domestic vaccines or are co-contributors to the vaccine manufacturers? The MOHW should explain the situation involving committee members acting as both player and referee.  
July 23: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the CECC, announced that the epidemic alert will be lowered from level 3 to level 2 from July 27 until August 9. Up to 50 people will be allowed indoors, 100 outdoors. Wedding banquets and public funerals are permitted, but karaoke and swimming pools shall remain suspended.
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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