What you need to know
Today's biggest stories from around Taiwan.
Date earmarked for KMT leadership vote
Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has tentatively set May 20, 2017, to hold elections for the party leader, CNA reports.
KMT chair Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) has held the position since March. She took over from New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) after Chu led the KMT to a landslide defeat in the general elections in January.
Hung, previously deputy legislative speaker, has been seen as a divisive figure, particularly by members pushing for major reform.
Possible challengers include Chu and former Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), CNA reports.
Obama enters the fray on Taiwan-China-US tensions
U.S. President Barrack Obama has addressed relations between Taiwan, China and the United States. The comments, which were made at a press briefing in Washington on Dec. 16, follow the historic phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and a subsequent series of statements where Trump challenged the U.S.’ status-quo policy to China-Taiwan relations.
President Obama was asked whether the policy needed “a fresh set of eyes” or if “unorthodox approaches” could put the U.S. on a “collision course” with China.
Obama said he was “somewhere in between,” noting both the benefits of “new perspectives,” but also cautioning the incoming administration it is important to have “all the information” before changing the country’s foreign policy direction.
“The Taiwanese have agreed that as long as they're able to continue to function with some degree of autonomy, that they won't charge forward and declare independence,” Obama said. “And that status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the Taiwanese to be a pretty successful economy and a people who have a high degree of self-determination. But understand, for China, the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket. The idea of one China is at the heart of their conception as a nation.”
He also warned that China will not treat the Taiwan issue “they'll treat some other issues.”
“They won't even treat it the way they treat issues around the South China Sea, where we've had a lot of tension,” he said.
Read more on U.S-China-Taiwan relations here:
Fears for Cross-Strait Economic Backlash after Trump-Tsai Phone Call
Does Trump Spell the End for Kissinger’s China-U.S. Strategy?
Taiwan, Not the US, to Pay the Price for the Trump-Tsai Call
Uber launches new campaign despite risking higher fines
Though facing possible one-off fines of up to NT$25 million (US$783,000) due to law amendments passed last week, ride-sharing service Uber launched a new promotional campaign today.
As part of the campaign, customers who post a selfie with an Uber driver on Facebook and a hashtag of a specified message from Dec. 19 to 30 will have the chance to receive an NT$10,000 coupon, reports China Times.
Amendments to the Highway Act passed last week would increase maximum fines against Uber and allow the government to stop Uber’s operations in Taiwan.
The Ministry of Transportation said that amendments to separate articles within the act would take up to six months and that the new penalties against Uber would not come into effect until mid-2017. The amendments also include a reward for members of the public who report Uber drivers.
Read more on Uber’s controversy and digital economy in Taiwan here:
Taiwan’s Continuing Uber Controversy
Bad Taste Lingers as Uber’s Food Delivery Launches in Taiwan
Taiwan: ‘Decide to Disrupt or be Disrupted'
Philippines office in Taipei gives worker protest muted response
A protest demanding equal rights for migrant workers was held in front of the Philippines representative office in Taipei yesterday, which was also International Migrants Day.
The protesters said they face unreasonable working conditions, such as unpaid overtime and excessive workload, reports CNA. They also raised problems with brokers charging workers additional fees due to loopholes in the contracts they sign upon arriving in Taiwan. They hope the Philippine government will support them and resolve the problems
A Philippine official from the office accepted the protesters’ petition, but did not make a statement.
Read more on migrant worker issues here:
Time for Taiwanese Politicians to Take Migrant Issues Seriously
Indonesia’s Migrant Maid Moratorium Creates New Avenues for Mid-East Trafficking
Stranded Vietnamese Waiting for Answers After Kinmen Bridge Contract Canned
Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying takes badminton crown
Taiwanese professional women’s badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) on Sunday won the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) Dubai World Superseries women's singles title. Tai also won the title in 2014.
The 22-year-old badminton player defeated seven contenders in the finals, and winning her second title made it even more memorable, reports state-owned Central News Agency (CNA)..
Tai was drawn into a “footwear dispute” with Yonex and the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association (CTBA) during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in August. The CTBA said Tai would be punished for not wearing Yonex sponsored shoes during the games, but later apologized and retracted the punishment.
Read more on Tai’s footwear dispute here:
Taiwan Sports Industry Under Fire After Rio
UPDATE: Taiwan's Tai Tzu-ying Will Not Be Punished or Suspended
Taiwanese arrested in Spain for telecom fraud to be deported to China?
The Spanish and Chinese police on Dec. 13 arrested 279 telecom fraud suspects in a joint operation in Spain. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), at least 30 Taiwanese citizens were among the arrested and the number could reach up to 70 or 80. MOFA has not yet released the exact number and names of the arrested Taiwanese.
It is said that Chinese authorities have already asked Spain to start procedures for deporting the arrested Taiwanese citizens to China, reports CNA. Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂), administrative deputy minister of justice, says the ministry has already reached out to the Chinese government expressing hopes that both sides can cooperate in handling the case and the arrested Taiwanese citizens can be sent back to Taiwan.
Read more on Taiwan and Chinese telecom fraud here:
Does Deportation of Fraudsters to Taiwan Show Jakarta Won't 'Kowtow' to Beijing?
Cambodia to Deport Taiwanese Fraud Suspects to … China
Editor: Edward White