What you need to know
A daily breakdown of Taiwan's top stories and why they matter.
Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), the wife of Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), has been disallowed from visiting her husband in a Chinese prison for three months after the prison accused her of distorting facts following a Dec. 18 visit, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TACHR) said on Monday.
According to CNA, the notice from Chishan Prison in Hunan province, where her husband is being held, reads: “Your distortion of the facts has disrupted the practice of normal legal affairs in the prison and has hampered the reform work on Lee Ming-che.”
The notice said Lee Ching-yu would be barred from meeting her husband between Jan. 23 and Apr. 22, according to TACHR.
After Lee Ching-yu’s previous visit, she held a Dec. 24 news conference in which she accused Chishan Prison of treating her husband inhumanely and freezing his bank account.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, harshly disputed her remarks two days later, a move which observers saw as an ominous sign that her future visits could become more difficult, CNA reports.
The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), a Taipei-based semi-official organization which handles cross-Strait business matters, previously said on Friday that Lee Ching-yu had been barred from visiting her husband without explanation.
In November 2017, a Chinese court sentenced Lee Ming-che to five years in prison for “subverting state power,” a decision that was harshly criticized in Taiwan and around the world. He pled guilty two months earlier in what many considered a televised sham trial.
Official defends FIT drop after Orsted hits pause on Taiwan
An economic official defended Taiwan’s move to lower feed-in tariff (FIT) rates for offshore wind power, a controversial decision which led Danish contractor Orsted A/S to suspend its two offshore wind projects on Jan. 2, CNA reports.
Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) said at a Monday forum that the FIT adjustment is not the only factor influencing the state of Taiwan’s wind power. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is set to finalize the rate adjustments on Wednesday, which would lower the FIT rate for wind power from NT$5.8 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2018 to NT$5.1 per kWh in 2019.
Wang Shyi-chin (王錫欽), executive vice president of China Steel Corp., said at the same forum the FIT rate is not the only factor, but is a decisive factor in the development of wind power in Taiwan.
Orsted A/S halted its offshore projects off the coast of Changhua County on Jan. 2 after failing to come to an agreement on a renewal of the 2018 FIT rates and failing to receive a permit for its projects.
Other news from Taiwan:
► The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it will name its presidential candidate in April. That candidate will most likely be Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), although it’s not yet a sure thing. (Taipei Times)
► Prospective Kuomintang (KMT) candidates are getting busy handing out spring festival couplets. Eric Chu (朱立倫), who has declared his intention to run for president, has sent out 350,000 couplets, but rumored candidates Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have doled out their own couplets as well. (Taipei Times)
► Tsai Ing-wen met a visiting delegation from Paraguay, one of Taiwan’s 17 remaining diplomatic allies, on Monday, pledging bilateral trade and investment. (CNA)
► Taiwan’s Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR) think tank says Chinese operatives could look to attack Taiwan by corrupting critical infrastructure such as submarine cables. (South China Morning Post)
► Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) described the loss of the candidate he backed in Sunday’s legislative by-election as “part of life.” (Taipei Times)
► Taiwan’s economy continued to weaken in December, according to the National Development Council’s composite index of economic monitoring indicators. (CNA)
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Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)
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