Taiwan News: Tokyo Olympics Name Referendum Proposal Passes 2nd Stage

Taiwan News: Tokyo Olympics Name Referendum Proposal Passes 2nd Stage

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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.

A petition calling for a referendum on whether the national team should compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" has been submitted to the Central Election Commission.

Organizers of the petition said Monday that they managed to obtain 526,688 signatures in support of the ballot, substantially more than the minimum requirement of 281,745 signatures, or some 1.5 percent of the national electorate that voted in the last presidential election.

Under revisions to Taiwan's Referendum Law that came into force in January this year, the petition moves the referendum process to the second stage

According to the Team Taiwan group that organized the drive, if the election commission approves the proposal, the referendum will be held alongside the Nov. 24 local elections.

The referendum will ask voters "Do you agree Taiwan should use the name 'Taiwan' to participate in all international sporting events and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo?"

A referendum vote will be declared valid if 25 percent of the total electorate casts ballots and a majority votes in favor of the petition.

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Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has announced plans for the city to host the first Asia-Pacific Youth Games next year.

The move comes two months after Taichung lost its rights to host the 2019 East Asian Youth Games due to pressure from Beijing.

According to Lin, the city will work with the central government to organize and host the Asia-Pacific Youth Games and details of the event will be released after further talks later this week.

Lin said the plan has the backing of the Presidential Office and the Cabinet.

The mayor also said he expects the number of participating teams and athletes at the Asia-Pacific Youth Games to be larger than that of the East Asian Youth Games.

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傅崐萁
Photo Credit: 傅崐萁臉書
Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, is denying claims by Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) that he is being denied a U.S. visa for political reasons.

According to AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour, American consular personnel in Taiwan do not take into consideration the political affiliation of applicants visas, but require a record of any criminal charges brought in Taiwan or the U.S.

Mansour said Fu was denied a U.S. visa because he failed to present the required documents, as all applicants must provide documentation explaining if such charges have been cleared before being issued with a visa.

Fu said he was scheduled to fly to the U.S. on Aug. 25 to forge sister city ties with Temple City in California, but three days before his departure AIT asked him to submit an English translation of the legal cases he has been involved in over the past 20 years.

Along with describing AIT's request as being 'not justified' - Fu is also claiming the U.S. is collaborating with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to "oppress" him.

Fu, who is registered as an independent but is affiliated with the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, raised eyebrows in April when he accompanied Lin Ming-chen (林明溱), the Nantou County Magistrate on a trip to Beijing to meet the head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Liu Jieyi.

The trip, which resulted in all parties voicing their support for the "1992 consensus" as a precondition for cross-Strait dialogue, coincided with China's military conducting live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

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The Ministry of Finance is planning to amend the Taxpayer Rights Protection Act later this year and the resulting tax cuts are expected to benefit some 1.49 million people.

The ministry has proposed the introduction of a new category of tax deductions for family expenses, which it says can be used to calculate a non-taxable amount that can be added to the standard deductions.

The plan is expected to be finalized in October. If approved, it will take effect in May of next year.

The Taxpayer Rights Protection Act was last amended in December 2017, when it raised the standard tax deductions for wage earners from NT$120,000 (US$3,907) and "special deductions" from annual salaries to NT$200,000.

If the new proposed tax cuts are implemented they will cost the government an estimated NT$4.25 billion per year in tax revenue.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu is representing Taiwan's interests at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) is continuing to hold talks with regional diplomatic allies at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

Wu is meeting with the leaders of the forum's members states on the sidelines of the event.

Taiwan's delegation is also participating in the the week-long inter-governmental forum, which aims at enhancing cooperation among countries in the Pacific region.

The forum has been labeled as controversial due to the limited access available to media and concern over conditions at detention centers in Nauru used to process Australian asylum seekers.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wu will host the annual Taiwan/ROC-Forum dialogue with regional diplomatic allies and friendly nations later this week to discuss bilateral and multilateral cooperation issues.

Taiwan was invited to become a post-forum dialogue partner in 1992 and took part in the dialogue for the first time in 1993.

The Pacific Islands Forum was founded in 1971 and is a regional political and economic policy organization comprising of 18 member states including Australia and New Zealand.

The theme for the Nauru meeting is: “Building a strong pacific: our people, our islands, our will," and the agenda includes issues crucial to Pacific island countries including climate change and the preservation of fishing stocks.

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The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Monday that it is seeking to increase the amount of land set aside for industrial use by more than 500 hectares by the end of 2020.

The statement comes as the the government is voicing concern over a shortage of land for industrial use.

According to Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), land supply is expected to increase in four stages by the end of 2020 on the back of government subsidies totaling NT$13.5 billion.

The first stage will target idle land in existing industrial parks, which is expected to release about 146 hectares of land by the end of 2020.

The government will also provide financial aid to seven city and county governments to help them build new industrial parks and push for 13 new industrial development projects across the selected areas, with an eye to freeing up an additional 396 hectares for industrial use.

The program is expected to accommodate enough new companies to create 54,000 new jobs.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has delivered a recorded speech at a Taiwan-sponsored seminar in the European Parliament.

Tsai used the speech to call on European countries to support Taiwan against China's ongoing moves to undermine the cross-Strait status quo.

According to Tsai, China has been attempting to squeeze Taiwan out of the international community since 2016 and by doing so is challenging the existing world order and seeking to establish a new set of rules based on its own needs and interests.

Tsai urged European countries with democratic ideals to partner with Taiwan, in effect pleading for international support at a time of dire need.

The speech was broadcast at the start of a seminar hosted by the European Federation of Taiwanese Associations titled "China Factor: Resistance is Futile? -- Taiwan as a Case Study."

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吳敦義
Photo credit: 中央社
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih claims allegations of electoral fraud are wide of the mark.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), a political party that supports independence for Taiwan, said Monday that it is calling for prosecutors to open an investigation into the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party for violating the Referendum Act and the Criminal Code.

The move comes after the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced that 1 percent of the signatures submitted by the KMT for its referendum proposals are those of dead people. The CEC also said last Thursday that many of the signatures appeared to be forged, being inked in the same pen and handwriting.

The TSU has filed the request with the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

TSU party spokesman Yeh Chih-yuan (葉智遠) said the election commission should also now reject the three referendum proposals, which comprise questions on whether to phase out fossil fuel power, curtail renovations to a coal power plant to New Taipei City, and persist with a ban on food products from Japanese prefectures that was imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

However, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) is dismissing the charges, saying it is "difficult to avoid" such errors and the commission should simply just remove any questionable signatures.

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The CEC said there may be up to nine referendums held alongside November's local elections.

According to the commission, the large number of referendums is expected to result in some logistical issues at polling stations, as it will be impossible to have a dedicated ballot box for each of them.

Commission officials said there will be three or four ballot boxes for the referendums, and those ballots will be dealt with before the vote-counting begins.

The commission is expected to announce further details about the actual number of referendums that will be held on Nov. 24 within the next two weeks.

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The Taipei Computer Association said Monday an alliance has been established by local companies and related groups to strengthen the island's ability to ensure information security.

According to the association, the Information Security Application Services Alliance is expected to help industries build their own information security platforms and boost global competitiveness.

The establishment of the alliance was announced in a seminar hosted by DIGI+, a Cabinet task force for digital innovation for economic development.

The new alliance will be headed by Hung Wei-kan (洪偉淦), an advisor to DIGI+ and the president of Trend Micro's Taiwan and Hong Kong's operations.

Hong said about 40 percent of Taiwan's enterprises are upgrading their digital technology to raise their competitive edge in order to face the challenges boosting information security.

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Photo Credit: 行政院公共工程委員會
Taiwan's Transport Minister (C) Wu Hong-mo is keeping his options open over the potential to extend Taiwan's high-speed rail network.

Transport Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) is continuing to refuse to comment on whether the government will back plans to extend the high speed rail (HSR) network to Pingtung County in southwest Taiwan.

According to Wu, a review committee evaluating the feasibility of the route is expected to release a review of the proposed line by the end of the month.

Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) has long been calling for an HSR link from Kaohsiung.

Peng said that 8 million passengers traveled between Pingtung and Kaohsiung's Zuoying TRA station in the first six months of this year, proving there is high demand for improved train services.

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China has imposed provisional anti-dumping tariffs on butyl alcohol imported from Taiwan, claiming exporters have sold their products at unfairly low prices in the Chinese market.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said China's Ministry of Commerce has issued a ruling into the alleged unfair practices, saying that imports from three countries have caused material damage to Chinese makers of butyl alcohol.

Taiwan's Formosa Plastics is the mandatory respondent in the case and faces an anti-dumping tariff of 6 percent, while other Taiwan butyl alcohol exporters face a duty of 56 percent.

China is the largest buyer of Taiwan's butyl alcohol and Formosa Plastics is the largest exporter.

Taiwan sold US$130 million worth of butyl alcohol to China in 2017.

Butyl alcohol imported from the U.S. and Malaysia is also being targeted by the provisional anti-dumping tariffs.


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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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