Taiwan's 10 Biggest Stories in 2016

Taiwan's 10 Biggest Stories in 2016
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像
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The 10 biggest stories around Taiwan this year.

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Taiwanese K-pop star forced to apologize after accused of being pro-independence

Chou Tzu-yu (周子瑜), a 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer, was forced to apologize on air on Jan. 15, after holding a Taiwanese flag on a South Korean TV show. The incident angered Chinese netizens, who took it as a pro-Taiwan independence gesture. Chou was forced to make a public apology, in which she said, “There is only one China and the two sides are one.” She also canceled all tours in China to “reflect on herself.”

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Taiwanese K-pop Star Accused of Being Pro-Independent and Banned from Performing in China
Japanese-American Actress Apologizes to 'Everyone in China' for Instagram 'Like'

Taiwan elects first female president
蔡英文
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) won the presidential election on Jan. 16 and became Taiwan’s first female president. Tsai was also the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader to hold both the executive branch and majority in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament. In her victory speech, Tsai said that she will maintain a status quo to build a “relationship with no provocations and no accidents” with the Chinese government.

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Taiwan's First Female President Wins By A Landslide
New Outlook on Cross-strait Agreements After Presidential Election

Southern Taiwan earthquake kills 116
0206地震,南台灣地震,維冠大樓
Photo Credit:Reuters/ 達志影像

On Feb. 6, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck southern Taiwan, leading to a total of 116 deaths, of which 114 caused by the collapse of the Weiguan Jinlong (維冠金龍) residential building in Yongkang District, Tainan.

Read more here:
Southern Taiwan Earthquake Update: 116 Dead And Government Establishing Further Disaster Prevention Methods

Four-year-old killed in Taipei attack
女童斷頭案 隨機殺人 A man leaves a message on a memorial book at a makeshift memorial near the site where a girl was found decapitated, outside a metro station, in Taipei, Taiwan
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

A four-year-old girl was decapitated in a knife attack in Neihu District, Taipei on March 28. She was riding her bike about one meter away from her mother, who tried to prevent the attack but failed. The 33-year-old attacker Wang Ching-yu (王景玉) was restrained and arrested by the police. He had a record for drug crimes and had previously been treated for mental illness.

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[UPDATE] Four-Year-Old Girl Killed in Random Attack in Taipei

Taiwanese fishing boat detained by Japan heats up fishing dispute
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Photo Credit:Book Huang

A Taiwanese fishing boat Tung Sheng Chi No. 16 (東聖吉16號) from Pingtung County was detained by Japanese coast guard personnel near Okinotori on April 25. The captain Pan Chien-peng (潘建鵬) and crew were released after an NT$ 1.7 million (US$ 52,527) security deposit was paid. The incident put the spotlight on tensions between Taiwan and Japan. Okinotori is composed of two small reefs that Taiwan believes should not be considered “an island,” meaning Japan should not claim it as part of its an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and did not have rights to seize the vessel.

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Ma Ying-jeou's last little vicious gift to Beijing: roiling relations with Japan

China Airlines flight attendants strike
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Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Taiwan-based China Airlines’ (CAL) flight attendants went on a strike on June 24 over unreasonable work contracts. The Taoyuan Flight Attendants' Union (TFAU), whose 2,600 members are flight attendants with China Airlines, held a vote on June 21 to decide whether to call a strike, and almost all the union members supported the action. After over hours of negotiations and a major public protest that blocked a street in central Taipei, CAL conceded to the seven demands made by the flight attendants. The event is considered a major victory for Taiwan's labor movement over coroprate interests.

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China Airlines Flight Attendants Strike, Flights Cancelled
Unions Threaten to Strike after Flight Attendants’ Success

Taiwanese Navy mistakenly fires missile, kills one

The Taiwanese Navy on July 1 announced that one of its vessels had mistakenly fired a Hsiung Feng 3 (HF-3) anti-ship missile. Navy Command said the missile landed near the outlying islands of Penghu, and while the Navy initially said that nobody was injured in the incident, it confirmed later in the day that the missile had hit a fishing vessel, killing one and injuring three others. The incident took place on the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1, 1921.

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UPDATED: Taiwanese Navy ‘Mistakenly’ Fires ‘Carrier Killer’ Cruise Missile, Killing 1 Fisherman
Missile Incident Propels New Round of Insanity in Taiwan’s Media

26 Chinese tourists killed in bus fire
陸客 中資一條龍 遊覽車 火燒車
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

A bus carrying visitors from China caught fire on a highway near Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, on July 19. All 26 people on board were killed. The bus driver has been blamed for the incident.

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26 Killed in Bus Crash in Taiwan

TransAsia Airways closes
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Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

TransAsia Airways announced on Nov. 22 that it would close after suffering heavy losses and being unable to turn around its finances. The Taiwan-based airline had two fatal crashes within seven months of each other before making the announcement. TransAsia Airways was Taiwan’s first civilian-run airline. On July 23, 2014 and Feb. 4, 2015, two deadly crashes were caused by TransAsia planes and led to a total of 91 deaths. Passengers with tickets for future flights would be refunded, but the future of its 1,700 staff members is still unclear.

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Human Error Likely Caused TransAsia Airways Plane Crash: Report

US President-elect and Taiwan president speak on the phone
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Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke directly with President Tsai Ing-wen over the phone on Dec. 2. The call is thought to be the first time a president or president-elect of the United States has directly contacted the leader of Taiwan since 1979 when formal diplomatic ties between the U.S. and China were established. Beijing considered the move to be against Washington's long-held position on the so-called “one China” policy and damaging to U.S.-China relations.

Read more here:
Trump and Tsai Make Historic Phone Call
Fears for Cross-Strait Economic Backlash after Trump-Tsai Phone Call
OPINION: 'One China' Dead Before Trump-Tsai Call
Parsing the Significance of the Tsai-Trump Call

Editor: Olivia Yang