ISSUE 123                                                                            December 30, 2021
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● Featured Editorial: 
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week

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Tyranny of the Majority Undermining Taiwan's Democracy
With its majority in the Legislative Yuan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) passed the Local Government Act amendment bill directly to the second reading, triggering fierce conflict between the ruling and opposition parties.
(Photo from: China Times)
Featured News

Twice A Week, DPP Abuses Its Legislative Majority

China Times, December 25, 2021


The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan has made advance arrangements for the 2022 local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen, who concurrently serves as chairwoman of the DPP, ordered the amendment of the Local Government Act to merge Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City into a municipality directly under the central government. The two-term mayor Lin Chih-chien (a DPP member) of Hsinchu City may potentially serve another eight years as mayor of the newly merged special municipality if the amendment realizes. Despite the detonation of the "setting up a post simply to accommodate a specific person" from the opposition parties, the DPP caucus of the Legislative Yuan used the technique of advancing to the second reading directly and successfully sent the draft to the internal administration committee for review. The DPP does not rule out that the bill may be included in the extraordinary session’s agenda in January next year to accelerate the completion of the third reading, so that the revised Local Government Act will be effective before the 2022 election.

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Featured Editorial
President Tsai Ing-wen has ordered to push the merger of Hsinchu county and city, fully mobilizing the DPP. However, the Kuomintang (KMT) has failed to thwart such attempts. A commentator finds that the opposition exhibits a state of serious dysfunction.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Why Can the DPP Do Whatever It Wants?

United Daily News Editorial , December 25, 2021


Within just a few days right after the referendum, the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has successively put forward two controversial policies: the merger and upgrade of Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City into a new special municipality and the direct submission of the 2022 general budget bill to the plenary session (second reading) of the Legislative Yuan, without going through first reading. Although the latter was withdrawn by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) due to high-pitched public criticism, the Tsai administration’s abuse of power had reached the highest point where it could do whatever it wanted. The incompetence and indifference of the three opposition parties had played the best role in prodding the Tsai administration into acting so recklessly.

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Featured Editorial
Scholars from the U.S. Army War College opined that destroying the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) can prevent Taiwan from being invaded by China. According to a commentator, such analysis probably misses the bigger picture.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)

Can Destroying TSMC Thwart Chinese Invasion of Taiwan?

The Storm Media Editorial, December 25, 2021


Some American scholars suggested Taiwan could use a “scorched earth strategy” by threatening to destroy facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to deter China from invading Taiwan and to accept the “status quo”. Is this “unheard of” suggestion from scholars an idea of insight or ignorance?

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This Week in Taiwan
Foreign Affairs predicts that Taiwan may come to possess nuclear weapons within 10 years. Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng sternly refuted the claim as groundless.
(Photo from: China Times)
December 20: The Investment Commission, Ministry of Economic Affairs, approved the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) application to construct a 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. This is cooperation between benchmark companies of Taiwan and Japan, but the relevant technology is one generation behind Taiwan's, so there should be no concerns about the outflow of high-end technology. The TSMC will invest NT$58.4 billion (about US$2.1 billion) to build plants starting 2022 and begin production by the end of 2024. 
December 20: The location of a proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) station in Yilan has been determined. It will be a compromise 350 meters south of the Yilan County Government and be constructed in parallel with the new Taiwan Railway station in Yilan. Construction will start as early as 2025. It will take 24 minutes to travel from Taipei to Yilan by the HSR, and the full fare will be about NT$300 (about US$10.8). 
December 20: In a press release issued in the evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stated that due to South Korea's breach of etiquette for suddenly canceling on December 16 the invitation for Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang to speak, MOFA has called upon the Korean representative in Taiwan to express strong dissatisfaction. South Korea claimed that the reason for the cancelation was due to considerations of cross-strait relations. 
December 20: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues around the world. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center, announced that starting December 24, second and third-dose mix-and-match will be available to the public. Vaccine brands include Moderna, BioNTech, and Medigen, whereas AstraZeneca will be excluded.
December 21: The European Union announced that effective December 22, it would recognize Taiwan's digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination to have the same effect as that issued by the EU. The EU is the first region to have such reciprocal arrangements with Taiwan. In the future, Taiwanese travelers do not need to carry their yellow cards when entering Europe, and EU citizens may carry their digital proof of vaccination to enter Taiwan.
December 21: The mangrove forest in the Guandu Nature Reserve in Taipei has expanded over the years. Local waterfowl species have disappeared at least 30 percent, and risk for flooding has increased. In order to protect the habit of waterbirds and reduce flooding, the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, announced that it has approved the application of the Taipei City Government and abolished the Guandu Nature Reserve, which will be transformed into a national-level important wetland. In the future, the mangroves in this area may be thinned. 
December 22: Every year, Taiwan uses more than 1.5 billion disposable beverage cups. In order to reduce volume from the source, the Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Yuan, announced that from July next year, beverage shops may not provide foam plastic cups. Violators may be fined between NT$1,200 (about US$43) and NT$6,000 (about US$224). Beverage shops, fast food stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets must also provide those who bring their own eco-friendly cups a discount of more than NT$5 (about US$0.18). 
December 22: There is a strong atmosphere of confrontation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Foreign Affairs predicts that Taiwan may possess nuclear weapons within 10 years. At the Legislative Yuan, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng stated that such claim is groundless. The Armed Forces abides by international forms and does not produce, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons or related technologies.
December 23: Some Internet users posted on Facebook videos of unidentified flying objects appearing in the sky in the Houying and Xigang areas in Tainan, sparking heated discussion. Military experts indicated that this was the Long March No. 7 CZ-7A carrier rocket launched from China's Hainan Island from 6:12 PM. At the same time, a Chinese civil aviation pilot also took pictures of the rocket crossing the sky in Guangzhou airspace and posted it on Weibo. 
The Ministry of National Defense stated that the sea and airspace dynamics around Taiwan are closely monitored, and the current situation is normal.
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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