WHAT DOES Hung Hsiu-Chu intend to achieve with her upcoming visit to the US in January? Most likely, the timing of the trip is because Hung’s ideological rival, current president Tsai Ing-Wen, will make a stopover in the US in January en route to an official diplomatic visit with Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, four of the 21 remaining countries which still acknowledge the sovereignty of the Republic of China. While it known that Tsai will meet with US government officials during her stopover, it has been rumored that Tsai will meet with US president-elect Donald Trump. Although such a meeting is highly unlikely, such rumors come after the diplomatic shake-up that occurred in wake of the phone call between Tsai Ing-Wen and Donald Trump which occurred in December.
Indeed, would Hung herself seek a meeting with Trump? If it probably would be too sensitive for Trump and Tsai to have a face-to-face meeting, never mind the unprecedented nature of the Tsai-Trump phone call, Trump would probably never meet with Hung. But Hung could still do much damage on her trip, such as taking advantage of her trip to paint a picture of Taiwan which suggests that Taiwanese are in fact, in favor of Chinese unification, with Tsai being an outlier, or more likely, attempting to create the perception that Taiwanese are more divided on unification/independence issues than they actually are.
BACKSLIDING BY the DPP on marriage equality has led to rage from members of the LGBTQ community and allies. On Friday, the majority leader of the DPP, Ker Chien-ming made public statements indicating that the DPP has decided to move in the direction of realizing marriage equality by seeking to add an amendment to the existing Civil Code.
In particular, the DPP has been unable to resolve the issue of whether some form of marriage equality is to be realized through changing the civil code or adding an amendment to the existing civil code. Changing the Civil Code would be more wide-sweeping in nature, seeing as this would change currently gendered language in other sections of the Civil Code, such as language referring to “husbands and wives” or to “fathers and mothers.” As such, adding an amendment to the existing Civil Code would be more conservative in nature.
Attempts earlier this month by youth activists to storm the DPP headquarters are evidence of increasing ties between Taiwanese youth activism and organized labor. The first attempt to invade the DPP headquarters consisted of approximately a dozen individuals and took place on November 1st, while the second attempt consisted of twenty individuals and took place on November 2nd.Both attempts involved activists who had been present at the Legislative Yuan occupation and attempted Executive Yuan occupation during the Sunflower Movement.
Youth activists demanded to meet with Tsai Ing-Wen to present their demands for the Tsai administration to reverse plans to cut public holidays but withdrew when this proved to be impossible. The DPP seems to have urged police to take a light hand with the students, with fear that a forcible eviction of the students would provoke public blowback against the DPP. Student groups, consisting of many of the same individuals, followed up with protests outside the Presidential Residence and Tsai Ing-Wen’s residence on Friday.
The recent appointment of Meng Hongwei as president of Interpol is one worrisome to human rights advocates across the world. Meng, China’s vice minister of public security, would be the first Chinese president of Interpol, though Chinese officials have served as vice presidents of Interpol and as members of its executive committee in the past. Presidents of Interpol serve four year terms and are elected by Interpol’s General Assembly.
Namely, in his position as vice minister of public security in China, Meng has used his position to orchestrate government crackdowns on group that the Chinese government views as undesirable. These include members of the Falun Gong and individuals targeted by Chinese president Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, which has in many cases used accusations of corruption to carry out political purges. Meng was also appointed head of China’s Coast Guard in 2012 and carried out the militarization of the civilian coast guard in order to bolster China’s disputed territorial claims in the South and East China Seas.