Taiwan News: More Anti-'Fake News' Measures Discussed, NCC Under Fire

Taiwan News: More Anti-'Fake News' Measures Discussed, NCC Under Fire
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The Criminal Investigation Bureau said the government will boost its ability to monitor and fight fake news.

This includes prosecuting those who break the law by spreading false information in order to protect domestic security and social order.

The bureau said a special task force aimed at combating online fake news was recently established, and it has asked social networking and internet search engine providers Facebook and Google to provide help in finding the source of the fake news when necessary.

During a recent forum in Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said fake news poses challenges not only to Taiwan but to all like-minded countries across the region.

Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) was criticized again on Monday by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators asking the NCC to take more action to combat fake news.

Read More: Taiwan Takes Centerstage in Global Fight Against 'Fake News'

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The deputy foreign minister said a Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives following the midterm elections will not affect the Taiwan-friendly sentiment of the U.S. Congress.

When asked by Taiwan lawmakers whether a Democratic-majority House could impact warming Taiwan-U.S. ties under the Trump administration, Deputy Minister Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵), who oversees U.S. affairs, said he doesn't share such concerns.

He said both the Democrats and Republicans have shown strong support for Taiwan in the US Congress and the latest midterm results will not affect that overall pro-Taiwan attitude.

Also, Hsieh said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to become speaker again, has long been considered a hardliner on Beijing.

The Democrats took control of the House in the midterm elections last week, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump.

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Credit: Reuters / Joshua Roberts
US Representative Eliot Engel, who is in line to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel is a longtime supporter of Taiwan and has visited the island numerous times.

Read More: What Do the US Midterm Elections Mean for Relations With Taiwan?

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One of Taipei's biggest tourist attractions could be closing for three years.

Under questioning from a legislator, the head of the National Palace Museum revealed for the first time yesterday a potentially controversial plan to shut down the museum's Taipei branch starting in 2020 for a major overhaul.

A Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker asked museum director Chen Chi-nan (陳其南) about the possibility of the shutdown and the move of the museum's collections to its southern branch in Chiayi County.

He said the plan that Chen described in a private meeting is for the main building in Taipei to be closed in 2020 and all of its collections moved out in 2021, with the renovation to be carried out in 2022 and 2023.

Chen responded that while details of the plan have not yet been finalized, "we are basically moving in this direction."

It would be the first time that the museum's main complex would be completely shut down since it was opened in 1965.

The Taipei museum draws four to five million visitors a year, with 75 percent of them from overseas.

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The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) will be teaming up with Uber on exchanges in AI and self-driving technology.

In a joint statement with Uber, the MoST said they will send a delegation organized by its Artificial Intelligence research center and self-driving task force to the first Uber Open Summit 2018, scheduled to open on Nov. 15 in the U.S. city of San Francisco.

The MoST said the presence by the delegation in the upcoming Uber summit is expected to facilitate exchanges of tech talent between Taiwan and the San Francisco-headquartered company.

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Credit: Reuters / Tyrone Siu
A sign at a news conference to announce Uber's resumption of its ride-hailing service in Taipei, Apr. 13, 2017.

Science Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said his ministry is gearing up to help the local AI and self-driving industries seek partnerships with Silicon Valley in the United States, and with such cooperation, Taiwanese firms are expected to gain access to tech resources in the U.S. market.

Uber said it's upbeat about Taiwan's potential in AI and self-driving development.

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Taiwan is set to propose solutions to digital challenges at this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

Founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Taiwan representative Morris Chang said Taiwan will propose initiating bilateral or multilateral talks under the APEC framework.

While a digital economy holds much promise for the future, Chang said the "digital presence" is characterized by "clear and present dangers" that will widen income inequality and result in mass unemployment.

He said the problems that have arisen in the digital age, such as lack of respect for intellectual property, high tariffs and lack of protection for privacy, need to be dealt with under the aegis of APEC.

Chang said APEC can serve as a platform for discussion, because countries engaging in the innovative supply chains that shape the digital presence are all its members, including the United States, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

This is the second time Chang will represent Taiwan at APEC.

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Proponents and opponents of the government's policy of phasing out nuclear power in Taiwan by 2025 voiced their stances at a forum yesterday ahead of a Nov. 24 referendum on the issue.

Founder of Nuclear Myth Busters and initiator of the referendum Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) exchanged opinions with Green Action Alliance Deputy Secretary-General Hung Shen-han (洪申翰), who opposes the use of nuclear power.

Citing Japan as example, Huang said Japan suffered a huge trade deficit between 2011 and 2013, when its government excluded nuclear power from the options for its electricity generation.

He said since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe restored the use of nuclear power in 2014, Japan has re-opened nine nuclear power reactors and has lowered its electricity rates twice.

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Credit: CEphoto / Uwe Aranas
Taiwan's Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant in Hengchun, Pingtung County.

Hung questioned why no lessons have been learned from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011.

In the second round of exchanges, Huang said the country should continue the use of nuclear power while fully supporting the development of renewable energy.

Huang said he is worried that Taiwan will face electricity shortages in the years beyond 2025 if a typhoon hits when the country will rely heavily on renewables.

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Taiwan is interested in hosting the Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum, said Kelly Hsieh, Taiwan's deputy foreign minister. No time or place has been set for the next iteration of the forum.

Hsieh said the first such ministerial level forum organized by the U.S. State Department was held in July in Washington featuring authorities from over 80 countries with a record for advancing religious freedom.

Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S., Stanley Kao (高碩泰), also attended the meeting on behalf of the ROC government, although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has been quiet about how much of a role he played in the forum.

Hsieh said the U.S. has proposed that the next three-day meeting could be held in the Asia Pacific region, though it has yet to make a more concrete proposal including when the meeting will be held.

DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) called for MoFA to be proactive in courting the religious freedom forum. “The ministry should not be complacent about being notified, your people should get on the case,” he said, according to the Taipei Times. “For example, Taiwan should try to send a delegation to the [White House] prayer breakfast.”

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President Tsai yesterday expressed her gratitude to her Palauan counterpart in Taipei for standing up for Taiwan in the international community.

Noting that Palau had voiced support for Taiwan at many international forums, including the World Health Assembly in May, the United Nations General Assembly, and the UN High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Disease in September, Tsai thanked Remengesau Jr. for that backing on behalf of Taiwan's people.

Tsai praised Remengesau Jr. for his focus on climate change, marine resources and clean energy, and said Taiwan will continue to cooperate with Palau in these areas.

Remengesau Jr. is on a state visit to Taiwan that ends tomorrow. His last visit to Taiwan was in 2016.

Read Next: OPINION: Interpol Must Let Taiwan Join Its 87th General Assembly

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

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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