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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
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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
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Taiwan’s English-language media gets more digital

Taiwan News cover

This week saw two significant changes to Taiwan‘s English-language newspapers. The first was the announcement by the Taiwan News on Tuesday that it would cease publishing a print edition and only be available online.

The paper, established in 1949 as the China News, changed its name to Taiwan News after it was purchased by the I-Mei Corporation in 1999. In January 2008 it changed from a broadsheet to a tabloid format. The final issue was published today. Here’s a quote from the Taiwan News’ own report:

During a press conference yesterday, Taiwan News President Jack Wong announced that the 62-year old newspaper is going digital.

“The unthinkable is finally upon us,” said Wong. “On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Taiwan News will launch the previously impossible integration of text, color images, and sound in a digital multimedia format. It will be the world’s first and log-on is for free.”

In response to the recent global trend toward digital publishing, Taiwan News has switched to an all-online format. “The whole world will witness an electronic newspaper that leaves all others behind in its digital technology and multi-media capabilities,” added Wong.

Read more »

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Typhoon Fanapi strikes Taiwan, causes floods in the south

Typhoon Fanapi satellite photo by NASA

Image from NASA Earth Observatory

Typhoon Fanapi (颱風凡那比) was the first typhoon to directly hit Taiwan this year. It made landfall at Fengbin in Hualien County at 8:40am on Sunday 19 September. The typhoon packed winds that exceeded 200 kilometres per hour. It also caused a Foehn wind which resulted in elevated temperatures in Taitung on Sunday morning.

Rainfall from Typhoon Fanapi

Some of the areas that experienced the heaviest rainfall were also the ones affected by Typhoon Morakot in August last year. Some locations in Pingtung County recorded over 1,000 millimetres of rain. According to the Central Weather Bureau website as of 5pm Monday Majia in Pingtung County had recorded 1,123.5 millimetres of rain. Shangdewen in Sandimen Township of Pingtung County had recored 1,007 millimetres in the same period.  Read more »

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After the storm

Court questions constitutionality of Assembly Law

The Taipei District Court has suspended a case involving Lee Ming-tsung (李明聰), an NTU assistant professor and one of the initiators of the Wild Strawberry Movement (野草莓學運), who was charged under the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法). The judge said a constitutional interpretation of the law was necessary before a verdict could be made in the case. Taiwan Today reports:

The Taipei District Court has ordered the trial of a National Taiwan University academic charged with violating the Assembly and Parade Act halted pending constitutional interpretation of several articles contained within the law.

The court found that proceedings against Lee Ming-tsung, an assistant professor of sociology at NTU, could not continue as the act infringes on a citizen’s freedom of assembly, as enshrined in the ROC Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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High Court delivers not guilty verdict in Smangus case
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Raining and rocking in Taichung

Panai & Nabu at Rock in Taichung

Saturday was something of a washout in Taichung. Heavy rains for most of the afternoon limited my attendance at the first day of Rock in Taichung (搖滾台中樂團節) to just one performance. Although the rain kept the crowds down there were still plenty of young people out enjoying the free festival in Taichung’s Wenxin Park.

I saw Panai and her husband Nabu, two indigenous musicians from Taitung, perform a great set on one of the festival’s smaller stages. During the set Panai spoke out against the plans for a nuclear waste dump in Taitung County. Many music festivals shy away from musicians with a political message. It was good that people like Panai had a chance to speak out about important issues.

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Approaching storms and millet harvest in Smangus

millet harvest in Smangus

I went on a trip to Smangus this week. I carefully checked the weather forecast on Sunday night before I left. I was aware that Tropical Storm Lionrock and the low pressure system to the northwest of Taiwan would influence the weather during the week. However, it seemed unlikely that either of them would directly impact Taiwan. By the time I arrived in Smangus on Monday afternoon the potential tracks of the storms had changed. The low pressure system had been upgraded to a tropical storm named Namtheun and was heading for the north of Taiwan. Read more »

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Smangus and the tree stump
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Second trip to Smangus