Taiwan News: Golden Horse Controversy, Huge Turnout for LGBT Rights Rally

Taiwan News: Golden Horse Controversy, Huge Turnout for LGBT Rights Rally
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Sunday that while she welcomes filmmakers to visit Taiwan and enjoy the freedom of speech available here, the opinions of Taiwanese people should be respected.

The statement comes after Chinese netizens slammed director Fu Yue (傅榆)'s [cover picture on right] acceptance speech at the 55th Golden Horse Awards, in which she said she hopes Taiwan will one day be treated as an independent entity, one of several award winners to make overtly political comments at the ceremony this past weekend.

Fu won this year's best Documentary Award at the Golden Horse ceremony for her film "Our Youth in Taiwan" – which focuses on the student-led 2014 Sunflower Movement.

Fu's speech triggered a flood of angry comments from Chinese netizens on her Facebook page.

Responding to the comments posted by Chinese nationals on Fu's Facebook, President Tsai took to her own Facebook page and said that "Taiwan is Taiwan" and "we have never accepted the 'China Taiwan' formula and we will never do so."

Tsai went on to say that "all filmmakers are welcome to engage in exchanges with people in Taiwan where no one disappears because they hold a view different from others, nor will they be silenced when they express their own opinions."

Fu's comments also drew an instant riposte from Chinese actor Tu Men, who pointedly said he was happy to be returning to "Taiwan, China" to present the Best Leading Actress award shortly after Fu's speech.

After the ceremony, Oscar-winning movie director Ang Lee called for greater respect for the film industry. Lee, who chaired this year's executive committee, said the Golden Horse does its best to be fair and even-handed and welcomes everyone in the Chinese-language film industry to celebrate the remarkable works produced over the past year.

According to Lee, the film festival is open to everyone, no one was told what to say at the event and that it is "a platform for art and art critics, and he prefers it to remain pure and for there to be no disturbances."

Lee went on to say everyone should show respect for the film industry.

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Organizers of a pro-same sex marriage rally said some 100,000 people attended Sunday's event on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei to show their support for LGBT rights.

The rally was organized to boost support for this Saturday's referendums to allow for the legalization of gay marriage.

The Gender Equality Education Coalition, which organized the event, said it hopes the large turnout shows that people in Taiwan care about LGBT rights and will vote down anti-same sex marriage referendums being promoted by conservative and religious groups.

Participants in Sunday's rally included politicians, musicians and filmmakers and featured performances by a dozen artists from Taiwan and overseas.

The Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association is accusing anti-gay rights groups of opening attacking gay rights of attempting to marginalize homosexuals.

Heavy metal band Chthonic and its frontman the New Power Party legislator Freddy Lim played out the event.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Supporters wave rainbow flags during a rally to support the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum, in Taipei, Taiwan on Nov. 18.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Kuomintang (KMT) mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) had a heated exchange in Sunday's second and final televised election debate.

Ting accused Ko of making slow progress made in implementing urban renewal projects involving old markets, schools and apartment buildings and for failing to attract more foreign investment.

Ting claimed that only 1 percent of the urban renewal projects proposed by Ko four years ago have been completed, adding that if he is elected he will make it easier to convert residential land into commercial use land, and provide tax incentives to accelerate the pace of urban renewal.

For his part in the debate, Ko refuted Ting's claim that Taipei's global competitiveness has fallen and that the city has seen a decline in foreign investment over the past four years.

According to Ko, Taipei is now a top choice for foreign investments in Taiwan, and the capital currently accounts for 76 percent of foreign investment in Taiwan, up from 52 percent when he became mayor.

The Democratic Progressive Party's Pasuya Yao (姚文智) declined to participate in the debate and instead attended a rally where he announced that he will resign as a lawmaker to focus his attention on the election.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is reiterating its position on the possibility of Taiwan changing its name from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In a letter sent to the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and Kao Chin-hsung (高俊雄), the head of the Sports Administration, the IOC said Friday that it does not interfere with local referendum procedures and fully respects freedom of expression.

However, it went on to say that any external interference could be considered a violation of the the Olympic Charter and result in Taiwan losing its Olympic membership.

The letter comes as voters this Saturday will get to voice their opinions on the matter in a referendum that asks whether Taiwan should apply to participate in all international sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Games, using the name "Taiwan."

The IOC earlier this year said that any attempt to breach the 1981 Lausanne agreement that determined the Chinese Taipei moniker would be considered external interference.

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee said it will continue to adhere to regulations as stated by the Olympic Charter.

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Taiwan's special envoy to the APEC summit said he accomplished everything with which he was tasked by President Tsai Ing-wen before the meeting wrapped-up in Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

According to Morris Chang (張忠謀), he successfully completed his mission at the summit, but he is currently unable to provide any details on that mission.

However, he did say he held "friendly and candid" interactions with over a dozen APEC leaders in Port Moresby, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and the prime ministers of Japan and Singapore.

Chang last served as Taiwan envoy to APEC in 2006.

President Tsai expressed her gratitude to Chang for his efforts in promoting Taiwan's relations with the United States.

In her Facebook post, Tsai mentioned Chang's meeting with Pence in which they discussed ways to continue enhancing relations between the two countries.

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Credit: President Tsai's Facebook
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Founder Morris Chang (L) talks Taiwan with US Vice President Mike Pence at the APEC leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea.

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Some 4,000 protesters have rallied air air pollution in Taichung.

The rally was the third to have been organized by the Air Clean Taiwan, with the two others taking place in Taipei and Kaohsiung earlier this month.

Participants marched from Taichung Civic Square to the plaza in front of the Taichung City Hall.

Air Clean Taiwan Chairman Yeh Guang-perng (葉光芃) said the rally was organized to show that Taichung's air quality has not improved as much as the local government has been claiming.

The Environmental Protection Administration has said the Taichung has seen an 18 percent reduction in PM2.5 fine particulate matter since 2015.

Incumbent Democratic Progressive Party Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) did not attend the protest.

But the KMT's mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) did take part in the demonstration and used it as a platform to promote her intention to cut output at the Taichung power plant.

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KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has apologized for insulting Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊).

However, Wu appears to being down playing to significance of his referring to Chen as a "fat sow" – saying although it was "inappropriate" he made the comment at a "private event."

Wu is also claiming the comment was intended to highlight the need for clean and honest elections.

According to Wu, he simply "got emotional" when speaking an event promoting the KMT's Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), and he doesn't believe the comment will affect Han's chances of victory this coming Saturday.

Chen responded to Wu's smear at a rally for the DPP's Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) in Kaohsiung last night, saying she is "a daughter of Taiwanese and not a big sow."

國民黨主席吳敦義(中)18日出席台北市黨部舉辦的中國國民黨建黨124週年黨慶活動時受訪,他承認失言,並向總統府秘書長陳菊及社會大眾鞠躬道歉。
Photo Credit:中央社
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih has apologized for some choice words describing former Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu.

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Taiwan has re-joined the international Kimberley Process (KP) annual meeting, which campaigns to eradicate the use of rough, or blood diamonds to finance wars.

A delegation from Taiwan attended the annual meeting in Brussels as an observer last week after a four-year-hiatus.

Taiwan was allowed to attend the event thanks to the assistance of the European Union, which hosted the talks.

The Kimberley Process is a binding agreement that imposes requirements on participants through the KP Certification Scheme which safeguards the shipment of rough diamonds and certifies them as conflict free.

Taiwan was granted observer status at the event in 2007.

However, the island was unable to attend the annual meeting in 2011 in Congo, and was banned from attending again from 2014 through 2017, when the meetings took place in China, Angola, the United Arab Emirates and Australia, respectively.

Read Next: INTERVIEW: Ellery & Yolanda on Dragging Taiwan Towards LGBT Acceptance

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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