Taiwan News: Hualien Ex-Commissioner Paid Journalists for Positive Press

Taiwan News: Hualien Ex-Commissioner Paid Journalists for Positive Press
Credit: Fu Kun-chi / Facebook
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The National Communications Commission said reporters who allegedly submitted bids to write propaganda for Hualien County violated journalistic ethics and should be investigated by the media itself.

The statement comes after Mirror Media reported that former Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) invited bids for jobs to prepare written or video propaganda pieces about the county's policies.

The bidding allegedly involved 25 deals and the Hualien County government paid between NT$140,000 and NT$280,000 (US$4,540-$9,075) to reporters there who worked several news organizations.

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Credit: Fu Kun-chi / Facebook
Former Hualien commissioner Fu Kun-chi (L) and KMT politician Apollo Chen (陳學聖).

The news organizations involved include Taiwan Television (TTV), China Television, Sanlih E-Television, ETTV, Era News, Formosa Television, CTi TV, Hakka TV, TVBS, Taiwan Indigenous Television (TITV), the Keng Shen Daily and United Daily News.

TTV and Hakka TV say their reporters allegedly involved in the issue have resigned, while Formosa TV and TITV say they have suspended their reporters who allegedly took part in the bid.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) says he's asked the Ministry of Justice to investigate the matter.

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Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the Shanghai-Taipei Twin-City Forum will focus on economic issues and showcase the concept of a circular economy.

The statement comes after Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said he hopes the forum will not create political problems and that he looks forward to seeing the forum proceed smoothly and show positive results.

According to the Taipei mayor, the forum will be putting more attention on economic affairs so that "it generates fewer disputes and proceeds more smoothly."

Shanghai's executive vice mayor Zhou Bo heads a 135 member delegation to the forum. Speaking to reporters on his arrival at Taipei's Songshan Airport, he described the annual event as the most important mechanism for exchanges across the Taiwan Strait and that he expects his delegation to meet "new friends and gain new knowledge."

Along with the circular economy, other issues slated to to be covered are related to cultural development, environmental protection and urban renovation. The two cities will also sign three memorandums of understanding on further cooperation.

The forum runs until tomorrow.

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Six U.S. senators have called for a probe into potential Chinese election interference in Taiwan in an attempt to curb Chinese meddling around the world.

Four Republican and two Democratic senators penned a letter to heads of the U.S. State Department, U.S. Treasury and FBI, along with the Cabinet-level Director of National Intelligence.

“We encourage you to work closely with Taiwan authorities to thoroughly investigate these allegations and, if necessary, take swift action to deter future CCP interference in elections in Taiwan or elsewhere across the globe,” reads the letter by senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Catherine Cortez Masto, Cory Gardner, Christopher Coons and Michael Bennet.

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Credit: USA Today via Reuters
US senator Ted Cruz watches an NBA game in Houston, Texas on Dec. 14, 2018.

Taipei has long accused Beijing of “spread[ing] false information through social media and messaging platforms.”

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) thanked the U.S. Congress for the letter.

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The Criminal Investigation Bureau says over 130 domestic cases related to the spreading of false information about the Nov. 24 local election within Taiwan have so far been uncovered.

According to bureau Deputy Commissioner Lin Yen-tien (林炎田), a special task force established to clampdown on election-related misinformation received a total of 166 complaints about fake news.

Lin said that, of those, there was enough evidence showing that 138 cases involved violations of laws banning the deliberate spreading of false information or rumors.

Officials say 174 people are now facing prosecution for spreading false claims in the run-up the polls, while another 28 other cases are still under investigation.

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The Taipei City government has released a poster in five languages, warning about the penalties for bringing meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by African swine fever.

The move is part of growing efforts to prevent the virus from entering Taiwan.

The poster bears the warning in Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai and English and it reminds travelers that the fines for meat smuggling now range from NT$200,000 to NT$1 million (US$6,485-$32,425).

The Taipei City government is urging the public to call its hotline to report any cases of meat from an unknown source.

Officials say such meat should not be put into the trash or food scrap disposal bins.

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Credit: Reuters / Jason Lee
Meat stalls are seen at a market in Beijing in 2016.

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The Coast Guard Administration says some 5.7 kilograms of pork have been found on a Chinese fishing boat caught poaching in Taiwan waters.

According to the administration, the China-registered Min Jin Yu 05812 was found operating illegally in waters some 18 kilometers from Pengchiayu Islet Islet off Keelung.

Two vessels were sent to investigate the fishing boat's activities and coast guard officials discovered 4.4 kilograms of raw pork in a refrigerator and 1.32 kilograms of pork being cooked on a stove after they boarded the boat. The Chinese fishing boat was towed to Chengpin Port for examination by quarantine inspectors.

All the pork was disinfected, sealed and kept in the refrigerator aboard the ship.

No fines were imposed against the boat's captain or crew for the pork, as it had not been brought into Taiwan. However, the boat was fined for poaching in Taiwanese waters before it was released and ordered to return to China.

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The National Taiwan University's Political Science Student Association has apologized to former Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) after protesters disrupted an on-campus speech earlier this week.

The association said it was responsible for "maintaining order at the venue and protecting people's safety" and "it is sorry it failed to prepare" for the protest.

The apology comes after Jiang was forced to end his address early after student protesters entered the venue and surrounded the former premier on Tuesday evening. Jiang was escorted out of the building.

The protesters accused him of ordering the use of excessive force against members of the Sunflower Movement during the eviction of student demonstrators from the Cabinet building in March of 2014.

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (江宜樺) called the protest was an infringement on academic freedom and freedom of expression and he still stands by Jiang's decision to evict the protesters in 2014.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Republic of China (ROC) passport holders are now eligible for expedited entry into Germany through the automated border control system.

The EasyPass system, which is available at seven airports in Germany, has included Taiwan on a trial basis since this summer.

It allows travelers to make quick automated border checks at the electronic gates at major German airports such as Frankfurt and Munich.

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Credit: GFDL / CC BY-SA 3.0
Taiwanese travelers will now enjoy expedited entry into Germany at some airports.

The ministry said one of its priorities is to enhance travel convenience for Taiwanese nationals and it will continue to seek reciprocal electronic immigration processing with other countries.

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Hong Kong-based lifestyle and fitness brand Pure Group will close its Pure Yoga business here in Taiwan on Jan. 25.

According to Pure Yoga, the company is leaving Taiwan due it "not currently being financially viable in light of the current market situation."

The sudden announcement comes only days after the company began promoting its 2019 class schedule and reports says the closure will affect Pure Yoga's 5,000 members and 100 employees here in Taiwan.

The company says it will offer refunds to all its members in accordance with local consumer rights laws.

The group has operated two yoga studios in Taipei for 12 years.

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) said he's optimistic towards the long-term prospects for the integrated circuit industry in the wake of emerging technologies.

In an interview with the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, Chang says he remains upbeat about the semiconductor industry, due to the continued need for computing, and IC demand is expected to remain solid in the long term.

Chang is known as the "father of semiconductors" in the global integrated circuit industry and for founding and building TSMC into the world's largest semiconductor foundry operator.

The company now enjoys a more-than 50 percent share of the global pure-play foundry market.

Chang retired from the company in June.

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The Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research said more than 50 percent of local manufacturers have countermeasures to help them deal with the on-going trade war between the U.S. and China.

According to a survey, 54 percent of manufactures polled say they have either adopted measures or are planning to come up with measures to soften the impact from the trade war.

Some 95 percent of the responding companies say they have or will adjust their operations or change their purchase/supply policies.

While 68 percent say they have or will diversify their export markets and 43 percent of them say they have or will change their investments and relocate their plants or service offices.

The institute said 61 percent of the manufacturers surveyed are Taiwanese investors operating in China.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Read More: OPINION: Will the US-China Trade War Really Spur Taiwan's Companies to Leave China?

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The Ministry of the Interior is touting its efforts to grant Taiwanese citizenship to 65 "highly qualified" foreigners over the past two years, following an amendment to the Nationality Act.

The foreign professionals received the citizenship without having to renounce their original nationalities.

Thirty-two of them work in the field of education, with 29 teaching at universities. Most come from the United States, followed by Malaysia, while others are from South Africa, New Zealand and Finland.

They have all have lived in Taiwan for an average of 16 years, with one having lived here for 47 years.

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A survey shows that daily household trash forms the majority of marine waste around Taiwan, followed by cigarette butts, lighters and fishery waste.

The survey was conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the environmental protection departments of 19 coastal cities and counties.

It found that daily garbage and litter such as plastic bottles, bottle caps, plastic straws, disposable drinking cups and tableware, made up the largest portion of the marine debris.

The EPA says analysis of plastic bottles show that most of the identifiable ones are made in Taiwan, while most of those from overseas are from China, South Korea and the Philippines.

The survey also shows that waste created by fishery and fishing activities form a large portion of the marine debris in cities and counties of northern Taiwan, while trash created due to smoking made up a certain portion of marine litter in areas of eastern Taiwan.

Read Next: INFOGRAPHIC: Charting 20 Years of 'Third Force' Electoral Gains in Taiwan

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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