Nuclear safety is not restricted to the nuclear engineering techniques within the plants, said Japan and Taiwan Exchange Association spokesman Chen Hong-mei (陳弘美), who organized a panel discussion about nuclear safety held yesterday called “No Nukes for Earthquake Countries.” Three Japanese anti-nuclear advocates were on the panel, one of whom was Idogawa Katsutaka, the mayor of Futaba city, which is close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. Chen said that a Japanese research group, the Association for the Research of Transportation Problems and Human Rights, published a report in January on the evacuation time needed for people living within the 30km exclusion zones of the nuclear power plants in Japan. The report said that the region that would require the most time to evacuate was one that has 750,000 residents, requiring at least 142 hours (six days) for full evacuation.
Chen said that there are 6 million people living within the 30km evacuation zone around Taiwan’s Jinshan (金山) and Kuosheng (國聖) nuclear power plants. Murakami Tatsuya, then-mayor of Tokaimura village during the Tokaimura Criticality Accident in 1999, oversaw the evacuation of 310,000 residents living within a 10km radius of the Tokaimura nuclear power plant. He called a plan to evacuate the 1 million people within the 30km evacuation zone of Tokaimura plant “impossible.”
Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) criticising the Ma administration as being made up of officials being able to flee the nation if a catastrophe occurs.
“The question of what to do with nuclear power plants is extremely simple when we take future generations into consideration. Only those who plan their future in four-year units would agree to the building of the plant,” he said.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has urged a political solution to the crisis in Taiwan and for all parties to exercise calm and restraint, during separate telephone calls with US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The situation in Taiwan is an extremely complex internal matter, and what is most urgent is for all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid an escalation in tensions,” China’s foreign ministry on Monday cited Xi as telling Obama.
“Political and diplomatic routes must be used to resolve the crisis,” Xi added.
Source: The Guardian January 11th, 2015. Taiwan has been in political crisis since pro-China groups led by local leaders of the KMT occupied the centers of the largest cities following wins by the opposition DPP in the Mayoral elections of November 2014. In response, China has sent a number of frigates to ports in Kaohsiung and Taipei to “monitor events and be ready to prevent any moves by ‘separatist elements’ to take advantage of the situation”.
Actually, I just changed the word ‘Ukraine’ for ‘Taiwan’, added ‘internal matter’ to ‘extremely complex’ and it just seems to fit so well.
Ma-Xi Meeting - Game of Words
It is now clear that both Beijing and Taipei are seeking a way for President Ma and President Xi to meet. What remains then is they way both Governments will seek to frame the meeting on terms acceptable to their relative domestic audiences, and in a way that allows them to control international media interpretation of the event. As is the character of Taiwan-China relations since the advent of the pro-China, pro-unification, KMT Ma administration in 2008, the Chinese Game of Thrones has in fact become a complex Game of Words. In the last four days alone …
On Thursday the 6th of March, it was reported that Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said:
The APEC leaders’ summit in Beijing this year would be the most suitable occasion for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) because it would allow China to interpret the gathering as a “domestic affair,”
… and then realising how that made him sound like a Beijing quisling, he backpedaled to spin it a la the mythical ‘1992 Consensus’:
As the next APEC summit is to be held in Beijing, it would help create a context where both sides of the Taiwan Strait could have their own interpretation of the nature of the meeting.
The MAC then did some damage limitation, via strategic use of the ambiguous words like ‘sovereignty’, ‘dignity’, ‘social well-being’ etc:
The council later said that a Ma-Xi meeting would not be an international or domestic affair, but a “cross-strait one.”
“The government remains adamant that such a meeting must not undermine the nation’s dignity and stances on sovereignty issues, and could only be held in a way that is conducive to the advancement of social well-being and cross-strait rapprochement,” the council said.
Lin’s unusual honesty on the topic later spurred the MAC to issue a humiliating denial that was all but a letter announcing Lin’s dismissal:
Wang also sought to downplay a comment made by MAC Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) on Wednesday that if the Ma-Xi talks were to be held at the APEC forum, which Beijing is hosting this year, China could interpret it as a “domestic affair.”
Wang said on-the-spot answers are open to different interpretations, but the council’s stance is clear: APEC is the most ideal location for a Ma-Xi meeting and APEC participants are economic leaders, not heads of state, [despite the longstanding practice of sending heads of state to the regional forum.]
Except that MAC’s insistence on an APEC meet didn’t sit at all well with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) who dismissed Lin’s suggestion out of hand:
“We should find another place [for a meeting], since it only concerns the two sides of the Strait, and during which only cross-strait matters will be discussed. It is not necessary to meet at an international occasion,”
Ouch. Meanwhile, China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) had another idea:
Asked if the meeting could be held in a “third location,” Chen said he thought it was a good idea, adding that it need not be Hong Kong.
China keeps an open mind about this issue, and Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) has repeatedly said that China and Taiwan do not have to meet on the sidelines of international events, Chen said, in an apparent reference to Taiwan’s proposal that the two leaders meet at an APEC summit this year
If not Beijing and not Hong Kong then where? Well, it seems that some people in Singapore are quite keen to host the meeting that will be the catalyst for the inevitable and undeserved joint Xi-Ma Nobel Peace Prize:
Tan Khee Giap, director of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy’s Asia Competitiveness Institute, told the Central News Agency that he is optimistic about the chances of such a meeting being held in Singapore if it is decided that it should take place “at a third location.”
Since Singapore was the host for the infamous KMT-CCP 1992 “United Front Against Taiwanese Democracy And Self Determination” meeting that yielded nothing except a way for Su Chi to spin it as having reached a consensus, it seems like an obvious location (Thailand is usually reserved as the location where PRC agents kidnap and imprison ROC agents, whilst Bali is where ROC traitors take other Taiwanese military and business people in order to buy secrets and establish sleeper cells). Not everyone agreed with Tan though:
However, Tan’s fellow academic Li Mingjiang said it would not be possible to hold the meeting at any place other than Taiwan or China because of its political sensitivity.
Using Singapore as a location for the encounter would give international media room to offer their own interpretations of the event’s significance, which Beijing would not be happy about, said Li, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
Hong Kong or Macau would be better “because they would be less [politically] sensitive,” Li said.
Damn those pesky international media with their questions and interpretations - both constant sources of interference in the internal affairs of China. Then again, Singapore’s is a good fit for its demographics as well as it’s geographical position at the southern-most point of the imagined satrapy of a Greater China which the PRC is projecting in its 9-dotted-line, something which the currently Taiwan-based China ideologue president Ma doesn’t so much object to as covet for himself and his beloved ROC.
Of course, such a discussion of a meeting with its consideration of what it domestic and international would not have been possible at all if Ma hadn’t constantly reiterated over the last five years that Taiwan-China relations are not international, against the frequently polled opinions of most people in Taiwan. Knowing this, and knowing full well most Taiwanese would not accept Taiwan-China relations being formally recognised as ‘domestic’ (despite a number of small legislative changes that have inferred such a relationship), the Ma administration utilises the word ‘cross-strait’ instead.
As dialogue and closed door negotiations between the KMT and CCP gradually turn into substantive moves towards the annexation of Taiwan into the PRC, it increasingly appears that, in the Game of Words, democracy and the opinions and rights of 23 million people are but distractions and obstacles for a ruling class invested in selling out.
Although we do not understand why people of the same sex would fall in love and develop a desire for each other, we should respect it as something private between the two people. … I believe same-sex marriage and child adoption by same-sex couples should not be banned, but it would be better if there were separate legislation for the “new type of union” so that it would not be confused with the traditional version.
Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄).
“Traditionally, ‘marriage’ is defined as a union between a man and woman, but we believe that everyone — regardless of sexual orientation — should enjoy equal rights. That is why we are pushing for amending the Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage,” Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
“Since equality in the right to be married is the central idea of the campaign, we would not accept separate legislation, because such legislation would still be discrimination and putting a label on same-sex couples,” she said.
Chien said that in many nations, such as Canada and New Zealand, same-sex marriage has been legalized by revising the definition of marriage from “the union between a man and woman” to “the union between two people” in laws.
“If other countries can do it, so can we,” Chien said.
“You may think people could be separate but equal, but segregation is not equality at all,” she added.
The alliance’s executive director Victoria Hsu (許秀雯) said that having a separate law for same-sex marriages would only deepen discrimination and would not help enhance social harmony and diversity.
This is one of the reasons why I feel the word ‘progressive’ in the DPP’s party name is misleading. They are not progressive on LGBTQIA rights, they are barely progressive on environmental protection, they are hardly progressive on combatting racism and misogyny, and they are not progressive on education, health care, transport, or economic development.
Another point here is this tendency to want to ‘privatise’ complex issues that politicians find awkward or fear lack popular support. ’It’s a private affair’ is the cop out to allow them flexibility on core principles that they know full well should be universal or un-negotiable. In much the same way, the current administration and party in power have been building the foundations for annexing Taiwan into ‘Greater China’ via ‘private’ and ‘party-to-party’ channels to avoid public oversight, scrutiny, and legal accountability.
In a questionnaire conducted by the National Sun Yat-sen University College of Social Science’s Survey Center, commissioned by the foundation, a majority of respondents said they believe women who get drunk in public “had it coming” for them if they were raped, the foundation said. Of the respondents, 53 percent had a bad impression of women who drink publicly and 90 percent said that such women cast a negative image on women in general. Seventy percent of females polled felt nightclubs were unfriendly toward women, with 65 percent of them agreeing that nightclubs could be made more friendly and more cooperation was needed between nightclub owners and the police. The foundation said that blaming women helped absolve men of the responsibility.
More than 130 historians from universities and research institutions across the country have signed a petition calling for the Ministry of Education to revoke its adjustments to high-school history curriculum outlines due to their lack of academic professionalism and due procedure.
Taiwan Past & Present
In the rush to develop and ‘de-Japanise’ Taiwan, the ROC Government demolished most of the pre-1949 architecture and replaced it with concrete, tiles and high rise buildings. This BBS post highlights some of the landscape changes this has engendered. One of the most noticeable aspects of the change in urban planning and development has been the narrowing of roads combined with a substantial increase in motor traffic using them. For me though, the worst effect of post war development has been the ‘destruction of the skyline’ - note in the pictures how a clear view of the skies has been obstructed by taller and taller buildings which in turn cast permanent shadows and reduce the amount of sunlight getting into working and living spaces. That is an anathema to nature and I suspect has had deep psychological and health ramifications.
From time to time, we see CCP and KMT Government officials claim to act in the interests of social order and to avoid ‘ethnic conflict’. On the surface this pays lip service to the notion of a multi-ethnic nation but neither the PRC nor the ROC are multi-ethnic nations in practice. In reality they are ideologically, administratively, and culturally Han Chinese nations and all other non-Han ethnicities are subsumed as relative branches into this family, united under the umbrella of a fabricated history in which Han Chinese always equates to the core substance of the national identity. Using the term ‘ethnic conflict’ instead of civic unrest serves to absent the real causes for the conflict, scapegoat non Han-Chinese as disobedient and anti-patriotic, and provide a handy political rationale (other) for a crackdown on civil liberties and rights supposedly protected under the constitution.
Is their [censors’] patriotism, political judgment and artistic taste better than ours, the directors?
FENG XIAOGANG, FILMMAKER
Actor Zhang Guoli tried to shift the attention back to the report and started talking about Premier Li Keqiang mentioning the importance of “cultural construction”.
But Feng interrupted Zhang, calling for a “big loosening” of the state’s grip.
“So what Guoli means is that blasting the White House, having bad guys among the police – these are all acceptable to authorities because capitalism is chaotic,” the director said.
“However, Chinese movies can’t follow it because we don’t have violence and absolutely no bad guys among police. Chinese directors can’t bring shame on China,” said Feng, eliciting laughter from the delegates.