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Society & Politics

Hong Kong's Young Activists Want to Learn from Taiwan Election

  • 2016-01-21

(TYR's reporters interview Joshua Wong in Taipei) by Jennie Tang and Sing Lee A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are in Taiwan to witness the island’s presidential and parlaimentary election this Saturday. Among them, Joshua Wong, convenor of student group Scholarism. “It’s really different [from] Hong Kong because Hong Kong [doesn’t have] universal suffrage,” said the 19-year-old activist. “I want to learn about the advertising and promotion strategies because they can be a reference to politicians in Hong Kong ,’’ he added. He believes mass movement is the way to raise political awareness of young people. “Voters and the general public have more incentive to engage in election[s] if [they are] more free and open,” Joshua said. Lester Shum Ngo-fai, the former deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students is also being invited to join the tour. “More and more young people in Taiwan and Hong Kong are dissatisfied with the traditional political parties,” Lester said. “The parties in Hong Kong can learn from the newly-founded New Power Party ( NPP) in Taiwan when collecting the public views, especially the voices of young people.” The NPP conducted a primary election online in which anyone over 15 years old can nominate and vote for the party’s parliamentary election candidates. Around 47,000 people have voted. He believes Hong Kong people would welcome this form of democracy. More than 30 so-called Umbrella Movement soldeirs are travelling with the student leaders. Rigel Lee Ka-wai, of the Chu Hai College of Higher Education student union, for example, hopes to find ways to improve Hong Kong’s political system through this experience. Ip Chi-hin of an activist group, Student Fight for Democracy, helped to organise the student visitors. “Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement have encouraged young people to participate in elections …

The Night Before Election - Taiwan Election 2016

  • 2016-01-21

  Tsai Ing-wen (Democratic Progressive Party) Tsai Ing-wen, presidential candidate of the DPP, finished her election campaign in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei this evening. Speaking to thousands of supporters, she said their votes will be the first step towards reform. "We are here not to defeat any party. We are here to fight against the dilemma confronted with our country," she said. Democracy, she said, is not just about elections but about people's everyday life. "Go back to your home towns and vote," she told them. "The vote you cast tomorrow will bring a new era in politics, the economy and a new future for Taiwan," Tsai said. By law, election campaigns in Taiwan must end by midnight. The voting will begin at 8 am on January 16.   Eric Chu Li-luan (Kuomintang)  Eric Chu Li-luan of the KMT, who has spent the past two weeks sweeping through rallies across Taiwan, ended his campaign in Taipei this evening, in the city where he is the mayor. Chu visited the eight legislative constituencies in Taipei today and attended a climactic rally in Taichung His final stop was Banqiao Stadium in New Taipei where he's joined by other KMT leaders,including the former vice president Lien Chan. In the rally, Chu admitted that the KMT has made a lot of mistakes. However, he hoped the Taiwan people can give him as well as the KMT another chance He also expressed his view towards the union of the pan-blue camp. "Regardless of whether it is the KMT, the People First Party or the New Party, the pan-blue camp should be united and construct a better Taiwan." Wang Ju-hsuan, 54, the vice president candidate of KMT, said KMT's past policies have protected women by making the sexual harassment prevention law and family …

KMT Blames Global Financial Crisis for Economic Stagnation

  • 2016-01-19
  • 2016-01-19

  by Crystal Tai Taiwan’s ruling party, the Kuomintang denies that Taiwan is teetering on the brink of recession. The party’s Executive Secretary, Shao Ping-yun cited statistics that Taiwan's standing in the Asian market remains number one, even though economic growth has stayed at an average of 2.81% between 2008 and 2014. "Taiwan's economy is not stagnating under the Kuomintang's rule. It is topping the world," he said in a news conference to Hong Kong Baptist University students in Taipei. But he later added that the 2008 financial crisis has weakened Taiwan's economy. “Taiwan is just one of the countries that suffers from the impact of the global financial crisis. Kuomintang has already done its best in the midst of it,” Mr Shao says. His comments are in stark contrast to the pessimistic outlook shared by many Taiwanese. According to Taiwan’s CommonWealth Magazine's 2016 State of the Nation Survey, 41% of the respondents thought that a weak economy topped the list of challenges in society. But the Democratic Progressive Party accuses the Kuomintang of failing to react to Taiwan’s economic woes. "Our economy is highly dependent on China and our policies fail to save our weakening economy. We should diversify our industry to decrease our dependency," the DPP’s Deputy Director of Department of Youth Development Huang Shou-ta, said in a briefing to the students. The parties’ comments come just days ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election. The economy and cross-Strait relations are widely debated issues throughout the campaign.  

Donation Scandal Mars Tsai Ing-wen's Election Campaign

  • 2016-01-19
  • 2016-01-19

by Crystal Tai Taiwan presidential candidate, Tsai Ing-wen faces allegations that she received a NT$450 million donation from an economic fugitive. Former legislator, Chiu Yi claimed in a news conference on Tuesday that the money came from Huang Fang-yen, the doctor of the wife of disgraced former president Chen Shui-bian. Tsai, tipped to become Taiwan’s first female president in Saturday’s polls, has staunchly denied the allegations. Donations from Democratic Progressive Party supporters continue to arrive at the party’s headquarters in Taipei in the form of money filled piggy banks. The Young Reporter talked to voters in Taipei say they are not fazed by the scandal. “I think the scandal is just a groundless accusation used by Kuomintang to attack Tsai Ing-wen,” says Mr Chen, a shopper at the souvenir store at the DPP’s headquarters. A young voter Ivory Fan-I Chia from the National Taiwan University says she does not believe Tsai would keep her promises in the campaign after the election but she would still vote for her. “The scandal would not change my stance. I’m not in favor of Tsai but Kuomintang has done such a bad job that I would not vote for them again,” she says. Professor Benson Wong Wai-Kwok from the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University says that it’s common for parties to attack each other in the final phase of the election. “Opposition parties or the KMT have no sufficient ground to challenge Tsai’s abilities during the campaign.. The only way to attack Tsai is to put her in scandals in relation to her family like land rights issue so that neutral voters may not vote for her,” he says. As the election campaign enters the final phase, presidential candidate Eric Chu Li-luan tries to placate public frustration with …

Business

Taiwan’s IT Industry Hopes a New Government Can Revitalise Their Business

  • 2016-01-19

  by Crystal Tai Taiwan goes to the polls tomorrow to elect the island’s 14th president, but a Top 2000 CEO Survey done by CommonWealth Magazine in December, 2015 found that 20.8% of the executives think that none of political parties can lead Taiwan out of its economic turmoil. Only 11.4% of the CEOs interviewed were confident that Tsai Ing-wen, the predicted winner, has the ability to overturn a sluggish economy Chen Kwan-Ming, founder of Westudent, a headhunter company believes the answer lies in investment in the IT industry. “The previous generations have the capital in hand but the only knowledge they have of IT is how to fiddle with smartphones,” he said. He wants the government to provide IT education for the older generations so they can benefit from startup companies. International Data Corp, a market information advisory firm predicts that over 30% of Taiwan’s firms would conduct transactions through virtual platforms in 2016. But Yvette Lin Wan Ching, CEO of Sudo said government policies in Taiwan and the business environment on the island lag behind mainland China and the U.S. “Eighty percent of Taiwan’s GDP is comprised of income from production. The government fails to comply with global trends to let tech industry take over,” said Ms Lin. Tsai Ing-wen has promised better opportunities for entrepreneurs in Taiwan by removing red tapes for startups and renew innovation in Taiwan. When asked whether she favored which presidential candidate, Yvette said anyone would do as long as voters chose the right talents to develop the tech sector. “I do not have a particular preference as long as the party is encouraging and tolerant towards startups,” Ms Lin said.

Photo Essay

The Face of Victory: Tsai Ing-wen and Her Supporters

  • 2016-01-18

  Tsai Ing-wen won the 2016 Taiwan General elections and becomes the first female president on the island. She beat the Kuomintang' candidate Eric Chu Li-luan in a landslide victory by grabbing more than 6.5 million votes. She said today's victory is the first milestone for reforms, promising to unify all parts of Taiwan and strengthen the country to defend the people: "We will not be divided by the elections but we will be more unified by democracy." Supporters of Tsai Ing-wen, the president elected of Taiwan, celebrated outside the headquarter of Democratic Progressive Party. More than 30,000 people used their mobile phones to "Light up Taiwan". That has been the slogan of Tsai's electoin campaign. The DPP also took about 60 percent of the seats in the parliamentary election held on the same day. Jeffrey Chiu Shien-yu, 26, one of the supporters of the new president, waved a rainbow flag at the moment of victory. He believed Tsai will be willing to listen to the public. "She understands the needs of the minority, such as LGBT, ethic groups and indigenous people, he said. "We are proud that she is elected. She is the first female president of Taiwan. It's not only men in politics." Chu Li-luan conceded defeat when Tsai had a commanding vote count and resigned as the president of the Kuomintang. "We have not tried hard enough and failed supporter' expectations." "We are facing unprecedented challenges," said Mr Chu. "We have to remember the lessons so that we can come back the next time." Pan-green camp, led by the DPP takes at least half the seats in parliamentary elections, wresting control of the 113-member parliament away from the Nationalists. Chiang Wan-an, son of former president Chiang Ching-kuo, was elected as legislator of Taipei. As the first parliament member …

Taiwan's President Elect Promised Unity and Strength

  • 2016-01-18
  • 2016-01-18

  Tsai Ing-wen expressed her deepest gratitude to all voters, including those who did not vote for her soon after winning the election. "Today the Taiwanese people have used their ballots to make history," she said. "We have now experienced the third transition of political power. For the first time there is also a transition of Taiwan's legislative majority." On relations with mainland China, she warned that any form of suppression will only harm the stability of cross-Strait ties. "Both sides of the Strait have the responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction based on dignity and reciprocity," she said. "National identity is a right and should be normal. This is something that the international community should respect." She was referring to a public apology made by teenager pop star, Chou Tsu-yu. The girl waved the flag of Taiwan during a performance on Korean television. "The election results today show that the people of Taiwan enjoy freedom and democracy. As long as I am the president, no one should have to apologise for being Taiwanese." Tsai then addressed more than 30,000 people on the road outside the DPP's headquarters. “Tonight, we tell the world through out votes that Taiwan has democracy. There are winners and losers in an election, but democracy will always win,” she said. “Also, I would like to give my gratitude to my two rivals, chairman Chu and chairman Soong. Here, I sincerely invite you two to work with me. The reform will not work without you,” said Tsai. "Keeping our society stable and peaceful is my promise to Taiwanese residents and the world. As the president elect and chairwoman of the party, I will give the first order to my fellows here, which is, you should always remain humble.” “Dignity, unity and confidence, this is …

Hong Kong Youngsters Draw Inspiration on Democracy from Taiwan Election

  • 2016-01-18
  • 2016-01-18

by Sing Lee New Power Party (NPP) founded after the 2014 Sunflower movement has won five seats in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan election. The up and coming political group garnered 740,000 votes. Chairman of NPP, Huang Kuo-chang, said the party will continue to be an open, transparent and active political party. He thanked their young members and volunteers who have worked behind the scenes, saying that they have been crucial in the party’s victory. In his audience was a group of Hong Kong youngsters who came to Taiwan to witness the election. Mr Huang said he admired them and noted that they face “ a much more difficult situation” than Taiwan. He told them to never give in after the 2012 protest against national education and the 2014 Umbrella Movement. The NPP leader believes young people in Hong Kong share his belief in universal values and they will eventually be able to decide who should be in government if they persist. Joshua Wong, leader of Scholarism, is among the Hong Kong visitors. He witnessed Tsai Ing-wen’s victory in the presidential election at her campaign headquarters in Taipei. He said to The Young Reporter that the rise of NPP and other “third force” will encourage more and more social activists in Hong Kong to run in elections. Mr Wong hoped Hong Kong’s post-umbrella movement organizations to make reference to the NPP when preparing for the Legislative Council election in September this year. Earlier also in Taipei, Lester Shum Ngo-fai, the former deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said political parties can learn from the NPP’s method to reach consensus. The NPP experimented with conducting a poll on the internet to allow everyone in Taiwan to nominate their legislative candidates. Mr Shum believed that’s an effective way to reflect the …

Society & Politics

Working mothers’ struggle: Lack of support in the workplace hampers breastfeeding

  • 2013-10-14

  As government tries to promote breastfeeding by banning advertising for formula milk, practical problems faced by working mothers trying to breastfeed their babies go unresolved.