Friday, December 15, 2006


Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) People's attitude toward animals has changed over time, especially in the last 10 years, but Taiwan still faces barriers that impede the practice of animal protection, scholars said in an international forum Monday.

"Animal protection is a policy that cannot be delayed," said Chen Shei-saint, chairman of the Animal Protection Association (APA) of the Republic of China at the opening ceremony of the 2006 International Companion Animal Welfare Forum.

The two-day forum, co-organized by the APA, Life Conservationist Association and the Department of Veterinary Medicine at National Taiwan University, is taking place in Taipei with scholars from 11 countries meeting in a "dialogue between Taiwan and the World."

David Fraser, a Canadian professor at the University of British Columbia who also works for the Office International des Epizooties (OIE, World Organization for Animal Health), offered a global perspective on animal welfare in a keynote speech.

It is amazing how quickly people's opinion could change in 30 years toward animals, Fraser noted, adding that the animal protection movement is looking for a more global reach in the 21st century.

However, there are new challenges ahead, including the rising production of meat -- especially in developing countries; the human impact on wildlife species, and increasing cases of domestic animals living in human communities, Fraser said.

Briefing the audience on the animal protection movement in Taiwan, Shih Chao-hwei, a Buddhist nun, followed up Fraser's viewpoints with her concerns.

Taiwan's animal protection movement has a long way to go, said Shih Chao-hwei, a professor at Hsuan Chuang University.

"The [animal protection] law in Taiwan has been in place. All we need now is the improvement of law enforcement. Too many times we have allowed unlimited generalizations of cultural diversity, tourism and sacred sacrifice to impede the practice [of animal protection] in Taiwan," she said.

Twelve theses will be presented at the forum.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) Anti-trafficking legislation is desperately needed if Taiwan is to prevent its human trafficking problem from worsening, Taiwan and U.S. officials said Friday in a video conference.

Taiwan was listed on the Tier 2 Watch List in the 2006 U.S. Trafficking in People Report published in June, primarily because it failed to show increased efforts in fighting trafficking during the past year, said James Husky, chief of the political section at the American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office.

Human trafficking is seen as the modern-day slavery, which is very different from slavery in the past, said Washington-based John Miller, Director of U.S. State Department's Office of Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) , in the conference that gathered public prosecutors, officials and law enforcers from Taipei and Kaohsiung.

About 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year, which does not count millions trafficked within their own countries, said Miller, whose office coordinates the U.S. efforts in the global fight against modern-day slavery, including forced labor and sex exploitation.

Being listed on the Tier 2 Watch List means Taiwan does not comply with the minimum standards and requires special scrutiny because of a high or significantly increasing number of victims and a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking.

Miller said the "Three Ps" principle -- prevention, protection and prosecution -- should be used when dealing with trafficking issues.

The national action plan to fight trafficking, which was initiated by the Executive Yuan, was a great first step for Taiwan, said Mark Taylor, Senior Coordinator for Reports of G/TIP.

Legislation makes sure the traffickers will be punished, but the implementation of the law is equally important as well, Taylor noted.

Public prosecutors and officials from Taipei and Kaohsiung mentioned the difficulties under the current system to define trafficking cases and identify victims.

"If a person ends up losing his freedom, it's a trafficking case, "Miller said, adding that government agencies should also work with non-government organizations.


Taipei, Dec. 7 (CNA) Rotarians in Taiwan have made a great contribution to Taiwan society and communities over the years, Rotary International President William Boyd said in an interview with the CNA Thursday.

Taiwanese Rotarians donated an average of US$138 per person per year to the Rotary Foundation, which is one of the highest figures in the world, Boyd said on the first day of his three-day visit to Taiwan. He added that membership in Taiwan has been growing strong, with a 10-percent increase this past year.

The most satisfying fact, according to Boyd, a New Zealander who is visiting Taiwan for the first time, is knowing that Rotarians in Taiwan have been helping communities and people through collaboration with government agencies and various organizations.

Boyd made the comments on the heels of an anti-drugs and anti-AIDS campaign in Taipei.

Rotary International is an organization of more than 32,000 Rotary clubs located in more than 200 countries. Its members are known as Rotarians. The purpose of the group is to bring together business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace around the world.

Boyd, who was invited to join the Rotary club in 1971, said he has always been interested in helping people. Being a Rotarian has helped him expand his vision and get involved in many international events. As the current president, he has been able to travel with his wife Lorna to different countries and meet different people, he said.

In Uganda, Boyd met a young man who lost his arm in an accident and was later able to make a living as a cab driver after receiving an artificial arm, which was donated by a Rotary club and cost only US$50.

"It's amazing to see what a difference a little effort can make," he said.

Boyd, whose term as president will end in June 2007, has made "water, hunger and health" the three main areas for Rotarians around the world to work on in 2006 and 2007. Stressing his philosophy of "local Rotary clubs know best," Boyd said that he only sets a general direction and then lets local clubs make decisions on specific areas they want to work on.

Boyd said he believes Rotary International's role will increase in the future, adding that it is gratifying to see so many international organizations, such as UNICEF, actively approach Rotary International for collaborate on projects.

What Rotary International can do to help the world is not limited to its 1.2 million members, Boyd said, pointing out that several of the organization's programs involve women and youth as well and that Rotarians usually bring their family members along to participate in community services.

"The future of Rotary International is looking as good as ever, " Boyd said.


Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) A pair of Canadian indigenous leaders shared experiences and expertise with their Taiwanese counterparts in a workshop on Canada's aboriginal self-governance and economic development Wednesday in Taipei.

"In terms of aboriginal relations and development, Canada was far from perfect -- it even made some mistakes in the past. But it can share its experience in aboriginal affairs with Taiwan," said David Hamilton, director of general relations of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT) at the workshop, which was co-organized by CTOT and Taiwan's Council of Indigenous Peoples.

From 1870-1950, Canadian aboriginals went through a long period of discrimination just like aboriginals in other countries, said Larry Chartrand, a professor at the University of Winnipeg who also serves as the director of Canada's Aboriginal Governance Program.

It wasn't until 1969 that aboriginals in Canada mobilized and responded through massive protests and pushed for a new relationship between the Canadian government and aboriginal people. After three subsequent constitutional amendments in 1982, the Canadian government began to negotiate one by one with aboriginal tribes on self-governance issues, he said.

However, Canadian aboriginals still face great challenges today such as land claims, the scope of self-governance, and continuing poverty and discrimination, Chartrand noted.

"It's our belief that what you do today will affect seven generations later," said Romeo Crow, a Blackfoot tribe chief of the Siksika Nation, who also serves as president of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association.

The Blackfoot tribe, a group of nomads that followed buffaloes in the past, has been trying to build its own business, increase the group's educational enrollment rate while at the same time preserving its tradition and culture, Crow said.

Self-governance is one thing, a vision to plan for the future instead of dwelling on the present is another, he said.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) A homosexual group announced its endorsement of five candidates in the upcoming Taipei city council elections Tuesday and demanded more homosexual-friendly policies from the Taipei and Kaohsiung city governments.

Based on candidates' past records and public statements, the Taiwan Tonzhi Hotline Association (TTHA) said it will endorse Pan Han-shen, Chan Ming-chou, Dai Hsi-chin, Lin Yi-hua and Chou Po-ya in the Dec. 9 election for Taipei city councilors.

Of the candidates, Pan is from the Green Party, which has been known for supporting homosexual rights, while independent candidate Chan Ming-chou claimed he is the first out of the closet homosexual candidate in Taiwan's election history.

"The homosexual population accounts for as much as 10 percent of the population. Votes of homosexuals are going to be critical and that is why candidates should not ignore the importance of these voters, " said Kao Ying-chao, convener of the TTHA's human rights group.

The organization did not endorse any candidates in the elections for Taipei and Kaohsiung city mayors or Kaohsiung city council, which will also be held Dec. 9, as most candidates either failed to answer questionnaires submitted by the group or lack past records for review.

However, Kaohsiung city mayoral candidate Chen Ju did mention common-law partners and families of gay people in her White Paper, while Taipei mayoral candidate Clara Chou is also listed as a homosexual-friendly candidate.

In the survey, most candidates were hesitant to specify their views or policies on homosexuals, said Kao.

Homosexual groups have submitted their recommendations and endorsements in elections from as early as 1995, TTHA Public Relations Director Wu Hsu-liang said, adding that they endorsed candidates such as current legislators Hsiao Bi-khim, Cheng Yun-peng and Joanna Lei in past elections.

"Our surveys and endorsements are non-partisan. All we care about are candidates' track records and whether they are homosexual-friendly, " Wu said.


Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) Health leaders from more than 40 countries met in a global forum in Taipei Monday to discuss health sustainability and Taiwan's participation and roles in international health affairs.

The forum, with the theme of "Sustainability of Global Health" is taking place at the National Taiwan University Hospital International Convention Center from Dec. 4-6.

President Chen Shui-bian said in an opening address that while Taiwan is not a World Health Organization (WHO) member or observer, it would be able to make a greater contribution to global health if it were allowed to take part in more WHO activities.

Taiwan and the rest of the world did not realize the importance of public health and the impact of a major disease until the SARS outbreak of 2003, Department of Health Minister Hou Sheng-mou claimed.

According to him, it was not until then that the world came to know that a major disease could affect global economic development.

Taiwan and the world are facing "unprecedented challenges" in terms of public health as the issues of AIDS, SARS, avian influenza, other diseases and suicide have either worsened or could return at any time, Hou said, making global collaboration necessary.

The forum discussed topics such as strategic planning for major diseases, regional and global health security, opportunities and challenges facing the health sector, international health law and policy, and Taiwan's participation and roles in global health.


Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) As an emerging democracy, Taiwan should play an active role in China's democratization for the benefit of both people in Taiwan and China, a Chinese human rights activist said Saturday.

"Only by participating in the process of the democratization of China and the deconstruction of the Communist Party of China (CPC) can God truly bless Taiwan," said Li Dayong, who works for the Global Service Center for Quitting CPC, on the sidelines of a parade opposing state-led persecution inside China.

The rally gathered thousands of participants in Panchiao, Taipei County to support a movement calling on CPC members to quit the party, and opposing China's suppression of Falun Gong and dissidents.

Views of Taiwan's future commonly held among Taiwanese people -- unification, independence, and the status quo -- will not work because they are all based on interaction between cross-strait governments, Li said.

"But can you really trust the Chinese government and the CPC, based on its track record?" asked Li, who is one of the founders of Future China Forum, a democracy-advocating Internet forum.

Eastern European countries didn't start their democratization process until the Communist Party of Soviet Union was deconstructed, Li said, adding that it provided a perfect example for both Taiwan and China.

"Most people know that Taiwan is in a stalemate politically, especially in cross-strait relations. The real question we have to ask is how to walk out of it," he said.

"In my opinion, only by helping Chinese people break away from the control and suppression of the CPC can Taiwan secure its future and break away from China's military threat," he said.


Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) Thousands of Taiwanese rallied in a parade in Panchiao, Taipei County Saturday to oppose persecution in China and voice support for a movement urging Chinese to withdraw membership from the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"In two years, almost 16 million Chinese people have submitted statements withdrawing from the CPC or its affiliated organizations. The numbers show the Chinese have spurned the CPC because of its severe persecution inside China and repeated violations of human rights," said Lee Ching-mei, a parade spokeswoman.

During the rally, Falun Gong members carried out an exercise that uses five meditations, and something the Chinese government deems an illegal activity.

The parade was the second time a massive Taiwan rally was organized in support of the secession movement since Epochtimes, a Falun Gong affiliation newspaper, published "Nine Commentaries on the CPC" and launched the movement in 2004, Lee said.

Braving the cold air and light rain, participants held cardboard and banners with anti-CPC slogans, which included "CPC is not China," "Oppose organ harvesting," "Support Chinese human rights activists," and "A democratic China will not exist before the elimination of the CPC."

History shows in Russia, more than 4.2 million members withdrew from the Communist Party before the Soviet Union finally collapsed in 1991. And the CPC may collapse as well, with the secession movement gaining steam, said Li Dayong, who works for the Global Service Center for Quitting CCP.

Li said most people don't realize that behind all the rapid economic growth and development of big cities, the Chinese government has illegally kidnapped and detained dissidents, writers and reporters, suppressed Falun Gong members, and ignored the problems of corruption, discontinued education, unemployment and an ineffective health care system, among many other areas.


Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) As thousands pack the exhibition hall for the 2006 Information Technology (IT) Month, Taiwan can look back at the past year and forward to the future with a sense of accomplishment, organizers and officials said Saturday.

"Entering its 27th year, IT Month has become the most compelling and significant year-end event for Taiwan's IT industry and consumers. We estimate more than two million visitors will visit the fair this year, " said Frank Huang, president of the Taipei Computer Association, IT Month's main organizer.

About 350 companies set up more than 1,700 booths at the fair, which is taking place in Taipei from Dec. 2-10, and will head south for shows in Taichung Dec. 15-20, Tainan Dec. 28-Jan. 2 and Kaohsiung Jan. 11-16, 2007.

While consumers care most about cheap computer prices, the fair also provides Taiwan's IT industry a chance to look back retrospectively as well as consider future prospects.

And the results are not disappointing. Despite all the theories of economic "hollowing out" in news reports, Taiwanese companies have been doing well in global markets, manufacturing more than 98 percent of computer motherboards and controlling the manufacture of about 87 percent of laptop computers, said Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Ruey-long.

Taiwan's brand development and industrial design has received much positive feedback over the past year, winning 146 international industrial design awards and boosting Taiwan's confidence in its value-added efforts. Taiwan has been doing well in foundry, packaging tests, and flat panel sectors as well, Chen added.

However Taiwan will be facing challenges in the upcoming year.

"We'll see a lot of changes in the upcoming year, with the launch of a new Microsoft computer system, Vista, and emerging development of 3G mobile phones, " said Frank Huang, adding that Taiwan needs to devote more energy to digital content development to catch up with South Korea.

"Without a doubt, the IT and digital industries will be Taiwan's lifelines in the future," Huang said.


Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) Taiwan needs to step up efforts to develop its creative industry as its output in the field pales in comparison with leading countries, a representative of the Institute for Information Industry (III) said Friday.

Taiwan's 2004 output in the creative industry was US$17 billion, only slightly more thanone-tenth of the U.K.'s output of US$160 billion. The numbers indicate Taiwan has a long way to go in developing the industry, said Ho Wen-hsiung, director of III's Industry Support Division.

China's creative industry output is US$220 billion annually, while Japan checks in at US$130 billion, only slightly less than its well-known auto industry, Ho added.

With its reputation in creative industries throughout Asia, Taiwan should do better than that, he said.

Taiwan is capable of turning the tide in the sector of the digital creative industry, given its advantage in information and communication technology and rich cultural assets, Ho said.

It's never too late to start developing the creative industry, which makes up an integral part of a knowledge-based economy. And it is a route that Taiwan has to take because its output in the computer hardware industry went from US$20 billion in 2001 to US$10 billion in 2004, Ho noted.

"In fact, the creative industry is not a new industry. It is just a new integration of value chains," Ho pointed out.

III was established in 1979 as a non-profit organization, jointly sponsored by Taiwan's government and dozens of prominent private enterprises, for the purpose of growing and strengthening Taiwan's information industry development.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Taiwan's future belongs to its people, and the people of Taiwan have the right to find "their real selves, " Taiwanese-American filmmaker Will Tiao said in an interview with CNA Thursday.

"Taiwanese have the right to find themselves... because they have never had the chance to develop and articulate their own selves, " Tiao said on the last day of a two-week promotion tour of a film titled Formosa Betrayed.

The movie, which Tiao plans to shoot next year and release in 2008, is about the story of the 1982 murder of a Taiwanese professor who was killed for speaking out for an independent and democratic Taiwan.

Many people in Taiwan have shown enormous support for a movie they think is long overdue, said Tiao, who was born in Kansas and comes from a family with strong pro-Taiwanese independence views.

While stressing his position as a foreigner and trying to stay away from political analysis during his visit, Tiao said he still believes Taiwan's future should belong to its people and that Taiwan is "a democracy that is coming into its own."

"Taiwan is slowly starting to realize that it does have to deal with the past if it wants to move toward becoming a normal country, " he said, adding that people of this generation are probably not as aware of history as they should be.

For a long time, Taiwanese have been told by others about who they are -- first the Japanese and then the Chinese. But Taiwanese have the right to define themselves and explore what Taiwan identity is, Tiao said.

People of Taiwan have to know and reconcile the past before moving forward. Only by doing so can they learn to deconstruct those arguments of "conventional wisdom" and look at the world in a new perspective, according to Tiao, who spent 10 years in Washington working for the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a pro-independence lobby group.


Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Taiwanese-American filmmaker William Tiao was glad to learn of enormous positive response to a promotion tour of Taiwan for a movie planned for 2008 to be titled Formosa Betrayed, which looks to "shine the spotlight on Taiwan."

He told CNA Thursday that he was happy with the public and private support for the movie in Taiwan, adding that many local businessmen have shown interest in investing in the movie, which will have a US$12 million budget.

Inspired by a true story, Formosa Betrayed aims to "enlighten a global audience" with the story of the murder of a Taiwanese professor who was killed for his courage in speaking out for an independent and democratic Taiwan.

"I think this is a story that nobody else can tell except me, because most people don't know the story, " said Tiao, who gave up a political career in 2002 after 10 years in Washington, D.C. and moved to Los Angeles to start his entertainment business.

Born in Kansas, Tiao said he heard a lot of stories about Taiwan's White Terror period from his parents, who had always been active in Taiwan's independence and democracy movements. Tiao said he knew from the age of six that he would work in politics.

Frustrated by Taiwan's lack of international recognition and support during his time in Washington, Tiao decided to take a different path in 2002 and moved to Hollywood, where he learned from scratch about acting, writing and filmmaking and came up with the Formosa Betrayed plan two years ago.

With his childhood memories, political skills, and Taiwan's presidential election and Beijing Olympics in 2008, Tiao thinks 2008 will be perfect timing for the release of the film and hopes it will be a time for the whole world to take a good hard look at Taiwan and "start a discussion" on Taiwan's rich history and culture.

The movie also seeks to offer an opportunity for Taiwanese to "reconcile with the past before moving ahead" and to reflect on Taiwan's history "from a fresh perspective as a third-party observer, " Tiao added.

The movie takes its title from a book published in 1965 by former U.S. Consul George Kerr, who documented his observation of the 228 incident of 1947, in which the beating of a Taiwanese woman selling unlicensed cigarettes by then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) police led to rioting that spread all over the island and was brutally crushed by KMT troops sent over from China -- the start of the KMT's infamous White Terror purge of "dissidents."


Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) A consistent, clear policy and reliable database are needed for Taiwan's renewable energy development, a delegation of British renewable energy experts said Thursday at a seminar organized by the British Trade and Cultural Office and the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

With a long history and expertise in renewable energy development, Britain is keen on sharing this expertise with Taiwan, said delegation leader Richard Brooks, who serves as the head of Business Development 2010 Target Team under Britain's Department of Trade and Industry.

It is impossible to replace all energy with renewable energy, he said, adding that the key lies in the balance of resources.

Taiwan needs to understand what its natural resources are and then identify what indigenous industry is capable of doing before deciding on its policy on renewable energy development, according to Richard Whiting, a representative from Garrad Hassan and Partners Limited, a British company specializing in wind energy. It must keep its policy consistent so private corporations can explore opportunities and develop, he added.

In wind energy development, a high-quality and reliable data reference system is also critical to speed up the process of deciding the location of wind farms, he said.

Taiwan is keen to diversify its power supply and the Taiwan government has been promoting the importance of green energy over the past few years. Since 2004, the government has provided Taiwan Power Company with the goal of developing the renewable energy sector in Taiwan.

The government has set a target of achieving a cumulative renewable energy capacity of 3,300 megawatts by 2010, including self-producing 2,600 megawatts and external procurement of 700 megawatts. Taiwan is planning to install at least 285 wind power generation units over the next two years.

Based on the Energy White Paper of 2003, Britain has adopted targets for generating 10 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources by 2010, rising to 20 percent by 2020. At present, renewable energy accounts for 4.5 percent of Britain's total energy, Brooks said.