Taiwan’s Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) was slapped in the face by a retired singer at a public gathering on Tuesday over what the woman later said was her opposition to Cheng’s attempts to “discredit” Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), Taiwan’s former authoritarian leader, and his family.

The singer, Lisa Cheng (鄭心儀), slapped Cheng Li-chun as the minister toasted entertainers attending the year-end banquet to mark the end of the Year of the Dog, footage from the event showed. The minister held her hand to her cheek in surprise, but briefly continued toasting attendees before abruptly leaving the event.

Lisa Cheng, also known as Cheng Hui-chung (鄭惠中), later said she “intended to slap her twice” and called the minister “ungrateful” for neglecting the contributions to Taiwan of Chiang and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).


Credit: Public Domain

A statue of Chiang Kai-shek inside Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The incident marks an ugly chapter in a partisan battle over transitional justice in Taiwan. The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) opposes efforts by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to remove statues of Chiang Kai-shek from public spaces and repurpose Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

In a Facebook post, former Taipei mayor and KMT deputy chairperson Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌) said he supports the singer, comparing the attack on Cheng Li-chun with a recent incident in New Taipei where an angry mob confronted a man apparently shown beating his wife and son on video.

Lisa Cheng said later in the day she would apologize to the minister but would not apologize for her views on the Chiang family, according to the Taipei Times.

Cheng Li-chun, in a Facebook post shared shortly after the incident, personally downplayed the incident but urged for civil discourse within Taiwan’s democracy, saying: “We should not express our opinions with violence.”

The host of the lunch event plans to report the incident to the police, clearing the way for a possible prosecution for common assault, according to CNA.

Blacklist banning Chinese tech in works, says cyber chief

Nikkei Asian Review reports Taiwan is planning to introduce a blacklist restricting government employee use of equipment, such as smartphones, from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE, citing growing security concerns.

Howard Jyan (簡宏偉), director general of Taiwan’s Cabinet-level cybersecurity department, told Nikkei Asian Review a list of Chinese companies posing security threats would likely be completed and published by the end of March.

Along with Huawei and ZTE, the list will likely include two leading surveillance camera manufacturers and could potentially include computer manufacturer Lenovo, Nikkei Asian Review reports.


Credit: Reuters / Jason Lee

A man holding his phone walks past a Huawei shop in Beijing.

MAC head puts forth three cross-Strait tenets

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) on Tuesday introduced three proposals for cross-Strait peace, urging the rejection of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal of “one country, two systems” for Taiwan.

Chen said Taiwanese people should reach a consensus to reject Xi’s formula, put forth most recently in a Jan. 2 speech on Taiwan. He also said Taiwanese people must unite to defend the country’s democracy and sovereignty while putting aside political differences. Finally, Chen said China must start the process of contacting and negotiating with Taiwanese government officials, which Beijing has abandoned since the 2016 electoral victory of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Tsai introduced a formula of “four musts” for improved cross-Strait ties in a Jan. 1 speech. She later said an outright rejection of Xi’s “one country, two systems” framework, which she equated to the so-called “1992 consensus,” constituted a “Taiwan consensus.”

Other news from Taiwan:

► 59 percent of Hong Kong citizens believe “one country, two systems” is not right for Taiwan, according to a Hong Kong University poll released Tuesday. (HKU)

► Greenpeace Taiwan released a report on Tuesday saying Japan had failed to decontaminate radioactively polluted water after its 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. (Taipei Times)

► Former foreign ministry secretary-general Tsai Ming-yau (蔡明耀) will become Taiwan’s deputy representative to Japan, replacing Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙). (CNA)

► Yunlin County announced on Tuesday its first county-brokered export of tangerines to China. (CNA)

► Academica Sinica researchers announced yesterday they have decoded the genome of Taiwan’s stout camphor tree. They also succeeded in an initial artificial reproduction of tree tissue, which could eventually help curb illegal poaching. (Taipei Times)

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Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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