Taiwan News: Premier Lai Warns on China Election Interference

Taiwan News: Premier Lai Warns on China Election Interference
Photo Credit:Reuters/達志影像
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Premier William Lai (賴清德) said Thursday that the government has identified illegal remittances of money from outside Taiwan and the spreading of fake news as two tactics being used to influence the outcome of this month's local elections.

Lai said he is requesting that all related authorities take action to ensure the fairness, integrity and security of the electoral process.

The statements come as the Cabinet is reviewing preparations for the "nine-in-one" elections and 10 referendums.

Lai has held talks with the Ministry of Justice and National Police Agency officials.

The Ministry of Justice said it has seized NT$32 million (US$1.04 million) in illegal remittances from various locations including China, Hong Kong, Cambodia and South Korea, and 15 people have so far been detained.

The money is said to be earmarked to support pro-China candidates and for the sponsorship of TV and radio programs.

The police agency said it is investigating 56 cases of alleged dissemination of misinformation and is stepping up anti-election gambling operations.

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Prosecutors have been questioning the sole suspect wanted in connection with Wednesday's attack on the head of the Taipei City government's labor department.

Lee Ming-yen (李明彥) was arrested at Xinpu MRT station in Banqiao Thursday afternoon.

He managed to get access to the internet immediately following his arrest and posted a selfie with a message saying that he'd been detained by police. He also made the claim he should have been processed by the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

He was taken to the Taipei District Prosecutor' Office at 9:30 p.m. for further questioning after being held at the Xinyi Police Precinct.

Lee yelled at reporters while he was being transferred and claimed that he was "protecting worker's rights."

Police said Lee attacked Taipei labor department head Lai Hsiang-lin (賴香伶) in her office while she was sitting at her desk.

According to law enforcement officials, Lee is facing charges of assault and of obstructing a public official in the discharge of their duties.

Lai suffered head injuries in the attack and was hospitalized.

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AIT主席莫健James Moriarty
Photo Credit:楊之瑜/關鍵評論網
American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty is keen to ensure that Taiwan does not overlook its immediate defensive readiness in the bid to meet longer term security goals.

The chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is urging the government to pay attention to its short-term deterrent needs while also engaging to develop new long-term capabilities.

Speaking at the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, James Moriarty said Taiwan should not forsake the need for immediate readiness for future capabilities and the island needs to redouble its efforts to strengthen its preparations for effective all-out defense.

Moriarty praised efforts to promote locally developed defense systems, but urged Taiwan to "do more" to sharpen its defense capabilities due to it important partnership with the U.S. in the face of pressure and the evolving security threat from Beijing.

Although Moriarty stressed that the U.S. is committed to supporting Taiwan's self-defense capabilities in line with the Taiwan Relations Act, he did warn that the island's defense "platforms no longer possess a quantitative advantage over" China's military.

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The wife of democracy activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) has said Chinese authorities have not told her why her husband has been transferred back to a prison in Hunan Province, after being moved to another facility in Hebei last month.

The democracy activist is serving a five-year sentence following his conviction for the crime of "subversion" in November last year.

Lee Qing-yu (李凈瑜) said she was informed by the Mainland Affairs Council late Wednesday that her husband had been returned to Chishan Prison, but no explanation for the sudden transfer was given.

According to council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), his office was informed of Lee's transfer, after receiving confirmation from the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Taiwanese business association in Hunan.

Chiu said it has asked authorities in Beijing to explain why Lee has been moved twice and expressed the government's anger over his treatment.

A Taiwanese business association based in Hunan was notified by the Chinese government in mid-October that Lee had been transferred to Yancheng Prison in Hebei Province.

However, no reason was given as to why he had been transferred.

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Photo Credit: 尋找李明哲
Lee Qing-yu is anxious to understand the reasoning behind the Chinese authorities decision to relocate her husband, the rights activist Lee Ming-che.

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Deputy Agriculture Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) has said regulations regarding food scraps sent to pig farms will be stepped-up as part of government efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever.

According to Huang, the Council of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Administration will carry out inspections of 2,000 pig farms that use food scraps as feed beginning from Dec. 1.

Huang said that though current regulations state that pigswill must be heated to 90-degrees before it's fed to pigs, some of the island's small farms are ignoring that rule.

The statement comes amid heightened concern that African swine fever could enter Taiwan via pig feed after a meat product brought by a traveler from China was found discarded in a trash can on Kinmen.

Tests found the product was contaminated with the virus, which has the potential to devastate Taiwan's pork industry. This year saw the first exports of live pigs from Taiwan in 20 years after a ban was placed on the sale of Taiwan's pigs abroad following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease here in 1997.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said China is pressuring the European Union not to sign a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan.

According to the ministry's European Affairs Department, both sides are seeking closer ties, but Beijing is using its influence to stymie talks on investment policies that could strengthen Taiwan's ties with the EU.

The ministry also says that no EU member state has voiced any objections to signing agreements with Taiwan.

The head of the EU's representative office here in Taiwan said earlier this year that the trade bloc remains committed to signing a an investment agreement with Taiwan, but preparatory work is still ongoing.

Figures show that 43 percent of all inbound investment to Taiwan came from the EU in 2017, while Taiwan's total investment in the EU was a mere 1.9 percent of the island's total overseas investment for last year.

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The Criminal Investigation Bureau has said three Taiwanese nationals arrested in northern Thailand on charges of drug smuggling are facing the death penalty or life imprisonment if convicted.

The three men were detained at Chiang Mai International Airport on Tuesday attempting to smuggle 70-kilograms of heroin back to Taiwan.

The heroin was found hidden in four suitcases.

Authorities say the same three suspects previously smuggled seven kilograms of heroin into Taiwan in August.

The three all have criminal records for drug trafficking.

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Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) has held talks with the Dalai Lama.

The meeting took place at the opening ceremony of a three-day dialogue on quantum mechanics in Buddhism.

Lee's is leading a delegation of Taiwanese scientists to the event, which is taking place in Dharamsala in India, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Lee talked about the challenge of global warming and the social responsibility of scientists, saying he has spent much of his time working on this issue because he worries very much about the future of humanity.

According to Lee, the three-day meeting offers an opportunity for scientists to learn from the Dalai Lama through discussions on quantum-mechanics, from the perspectives of humanity and religion.

The Dalai Lama said it is first time he has engaged in such a dialogue with scientists mainly from the Chinese community.

And he said he hopes the dialogue will serve to expand the field of scientific research to include the study of the inner mind and promote the role of compassion.

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Indonesia has become the fifth largest source of international students in Taiwan, with the number more than doubling over the past 10 years.

The Ministry of Education said there are currently 4,931 Indonesians studying here, which is 2.5 times the number in 2008.

According to the director-general of the Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, the increase comes as Taiwan has strengthened higher education exchanges with Indonesia in recent years.

And Indonesia is now planning to send more students to Taiwan to study subjects that meet the country's development needs.

The Indonesian government has provided funding for its nationals to study here in Taiwan since 2012, and most of the students that come here study business management and engineering.

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National Taiwan University professor Chen Pi-sin (陳丕燊) has become the first astrophysicist from Taiwan to receive an International Blaise Pascal Research Chair.

Chen is currently the director of the Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics.

Speaking to reporters, he said the post will enable him to continue his research on black hole simulation to learn whether information is lost as a black hole evaporates.

He is now set to carry out further research on black holes at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

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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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