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Rain cannot stop the LGBT Pride Parade

Four men at LGBT Pride in Taipei

An estimated 30,000 people joined the 8th annual Taiwan LGBT Pride (台灣同志遊行) march in the centre of Taipei yesterday. Light rain did not stop the crowds from coming out to march with the numbers up on last year. The march is said to be largest LGBT Pride event in Asia.

The theme for this year’s event was “Out & Vote” (投同志政策一票). Politicians in Taiwan often make promises about gay rights, but have failed to implement their promises or pass legislation to benefit the LGBT community. The Taipei Times has a good article giving some more background on some of the key issues. Read more »

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LGBT Pride Parade in Taipei
Loving out loud and proud
Hopes and dreams on parade
Bikes on show in Taipei
Taiwan’s press freedom ranking improves: RSF

Movie review: The Fourth Portrait

The Fourth Portrait movie posterThe Fourth Portrait (第四張畫) paints a wonderful picture of the life of a young boy, Xiang played by Bi Xiao-hai (畢曉海), who struggles to find his place in a world of poverty and domestic violence. It is the second film for director Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏) who made his directorial debut with Parking in 2008.

The story begins with the death of Xiang’s father who was his sole carer. He is temporarily taken care of by the school janitor before going to live with his mother who has remarried. Xiang’s mother, Chun-lan played by Hao Lei (郝蕾), is from China and works in a hostess bar. She is too tired and broken to give Xiang the care and attention he needs. In one scene where she goes to meet Xiang’s teacher she emotionally relates the difficulties and struggles she has faced since coming to Taiwan. Read more »

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2010 Taipei Film Festival
2007 at the movies
Movie review: Reflections
Movie review: Island Etude
The Wall-Passer: unique sci-fi romance

Prediction market for the five cities election

Election campaign posters in Taichung

The five cities election (五都選舉) is exactly one month away. On 27 November voters will go to the polls in the newly merged and upgraded special municipalities of Kaohsiung, Tainan and Taichung as well as Taipei City and Taipei County (which will be renamed Xinbei City/New Taipei City). The latest numbers from National Chengchi University’s Prediction Market Centre give some pointers to the likely results.

Greater Kaohsiung

  • Chen Chu (DPP) 64.1
  • Yang Chiu-hsing (Ind) 26.5
  • Huang Chao-shun (KMT) 8.7

Greater Tainan

  • William Lai (DPP) 85.0
  • Kuo Tien-tsai (KMT) 9.4

Greater Taichung

  • Jason Hu (KMT) 67.0
  • Su Jia-chyuan (DPP) 31.5 (Su is not actually listed, price is for “other”)

Taipei County (soon to be renamed)

  • Eric Chu (KMT) 49.4
  • Tsai Ing-wen (DPP) 50.6

Taipei City

  • Hau Lung-bin (KMT) 45.5
  • Su Tseng-chang (DPP) 51.5

Read more »

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Election campaign posters in Taichung
More on population density
Crowded cities
Green Party bike ride
2008 Presidential election links – special edition

Taiwan’s press freedom ranking improves: RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its 2010 Press Freedom Index today. The index ranked Taiwan 48th in the world. This was an improvement of 11 places on its position last year. It is still lower than Taiwan’s 36th place in 2008.

 RSF called the performance of Asia’s democratic countries “impressive.” Japan, ranked 11th, held the highest position of any Asian country. RSF noted, “Taiwan and South Korea, rose 11 and 27 places respectively, after noteworthy falls in the 2009 Index. Although some problems persist, such as the issue of the state-owned media’s editorial independence.”  Read more »

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Taiwan press freedom declines: report
Freedom House reports declining media freedom
Wild Berry House opening
Court questions constitutionality of Assembly Law
Assembly Law amendments restrict rights

No consensus about national day in Taiwan

On Thursday Arthur Waldron had a letter in the Taipei Times saying he was distressed that the opposition parties would not participate in the Double Ten National Day celebrations. He then suggested a “2010 Consensus” of one national day, different interpretations.

Today the Taipei Times has published two letters in response by Ben Goren and me. Ben places the issue in the context of “of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) … actively [seeking] to reinvigorate Chinese nationalism in Taiwan through downgrading Taiwan from a state to a region within an anachronistic Republic of China.” Ben goes on to write,

Waldron should know that the only consensus the current government cares for is the fictional “1992 consensus,” which in turn is only a transparent tool to reinforce the “one China” principle as a foundation for negotiations with China. If the Ma administration had truly wanted the -opposition to celebrate the ROC’s national day, why did it make every effort to remove and destroy the ROC national flag so that it would not offend the delicate sensibilities of Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in November 2008? As one of my Taiwanese supervisors said to me recently, what country denigrates and humiliates itself to the extent of trashing its most potent symbol of national sovereignty so as to please visiting foreign dignitaries?

Waldron’s distress would be better served lamenting how the Ma administration is actively striving to reverse and undermine the gains in sovereignty and national identity Taiwanese have accumulated since its democratization.

Read more »

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Deepening democracy in Asia
Strawberry generation stands up
The naming of “New North City”
National Taiwan Museum in Taipei
A new museum experience

Taiwan’s reaction to Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Liu XiaoboThe Nobel Committee has awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Taiwan‘s Central News Agency (中央社) reports that Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), said in response to the news that she hopes Liu can be released from prison soon, but she felt the news was somewhat ironic.

Several days ago in the lead up to the announcement of the prize, the Taipei Society urged the Nobel Committee to award the prize to Liu Xiaobo. According the the CNA report the Society said that, “a Nobel Peace Prize for Liu would mean not only recognition of his long-term dedication to human rights and democratic reforms in China, but would also send a clear message to the Chinese communist regime that the world stands in solidarity with Chinese people who share Liu’s vision for a strong, prosperous and democratic China that respects individual freedom and human rights.”  Read more »

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What Woodstock means to Taiwan
A million march for Taiwan
Taiwan’s legal status
Links 27 October 2008
2008 Presidential election links – special edition

Film festival to promote dialogue on death penalty issue

The Murder by Numbers Film Festival  (殺人影展3:亞洲與世界的對話), featuring films and documentaries on the theme of the death penalty, is on from 8-10 October in Taipei. It will be followed by screenings in Hsinchu and on university campuses later in the month. The festival coincides with the World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October.

The festival is the third to be organised by the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (台灣廢除死刑推動聯盟). The first festival was held in 2004 and the second in 2007. The theme of the third festival is a dialogue between Asia and the world. Asia is one of the regions of the world where the death penalty is most frequently carried out. Taiwan had an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty from December 2005 until April this year when four prisoners were executed. These executions again brought the death penalty debate into the spotlight and showed that Taiwanese society is deeply divided on the issue. Events like this film festival provide an important opportunity for people to engage in dialogue about the death penalty issue. Read more »

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Time to end the death penalty
Taipei Film Festival opens tomorrow
Letter about the death penalty in the Taipei Times
Working the streets
10th Taipei Film Festival