Taiwan is an East Asian country situated in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines. Given its close proximity to China and its high population density, the island nation faced a high risk of devastation from COVID-19. Despite these factors, however, Taiwan has managed to maintain control over the virus. The country recorded an incredibly low number of cases in comparison to the size of its population.

A Success Story

COVID-19 first made it to Taiwan on January 21, 2020. Despite Taiwan’s proximity to China and its population of over 23 million, the total number of cases as of August 2020 remains under 500, with only 7 confirmed deaths. Of these cases, a majority of them occurred in March 2020. The country saw few cases in April, as well as in the following months. COVID-19 in Taiwan has experienced no local transmission of the virus for over 100 days, while many other countries worldwide continue to struggle with increasing numbers. Of the 467 confirmed cases, over 400 of them were from overseas arrivals and an outbreak on a naval ship, leaving less than 100 cases the result of citizen-to-citizen transmission within the country. The success in the battle against COVID-19 in Taiwan is largely attributed to a few key factors.

Healthcare in Taiwan

The pre-existing infrastructure of Taiwan’s healthcare system proved to be a vital tool in their successful approach toward fighting COVID-19. Taiwan’s national health insurance exists as a universal, mandatory coverage system that applies to all residents and long-term visitors. A single-payer system powers this universal coverage, which receives most of its funding from payroll-based premiums. However, the government offers significant subsidies for certain groups including low-income households and civil servants, among others. Coverage encompasses preventative and primary care, along with more specialized sectors of treatment such as mental health services and hospital stays. Most care is provided through private providers.

The initial response to COVID-19 in Taiwan included an aggressive initial reaction to the virus. The country immediately developed rapid testing and widely distributed masks to healthcare workers and citizens. Though this universal system has existed in Taiwan since the late 1980s, it is a newer development that lent an unexpected hand in national COVID-19 defense.

Contact Tracing

A crucial component of Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 lies in its advanced immigration database and rapid information sharing system. This system helped tremendously in slowing the spread of the virus. Taiwan’s immigration database allows medical providers to access travel information for patients. This helped with early detection and determination of high-risk areas. Robust contact tracing allowed the Taiwanese government to rigorously track cases and put isolation protocols into place based on the data in order to contain larger community outbreaks.  “Digital fencing” identified individuals at greater risk in order to quarantine them. The Taiwanese government also put into place measures to support those facing isolation, including laundry services, meal assurance and transportation to medical appointments. These kinds of services offered further incentives for individuals to follow strict isolation protocols. Citizen’s cooperation helped to quickly suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan.

Cultural Advantages

The Taiwanese response to COVID-19 was also strengthened by a few cultures anomalies, including its prior battle with SARS in 2003. Immediately upon discovery of an abnormal respiratory illness out of Wuhan, Taiwan tightened its borders. They also began thorough testing on those arriving from affected areas. Taiwan also utilizes a historically transparent approach to public health, keeping its citizens informed and answering questions about the progression of the virus. This has led to a culture that tends to follow government guidance. Taiwan also has the additional advantage of an established culture of mask-wearing. While other countries struggle to adhere to mask guidelines, Taiwan transitioned more easily; masks were already a socially acceptable accessory.

Jazmin Johnson

Photo: The Diplomat

homelessness in taiwanHomelessness is a pervasive problem in all parts of the world, even in places that seem as technologically advanced as Taiwan. While Taiwan has made headlines for its fast-growing economy, its government has been stringent with social safety nets, providing little help or resources to their homeless population. The fact that homelessness in Taiwan is a problem at all is surprising. Taiwan has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world and a high rate of homeownership; almost 85% of households in Taiwan own their homes.

Even still, Taiwan does have a homeless problem, especially in the capital city of Taipei. While there are homeless shelters, most of them are privately funded and have long waiting lists to get in. But the major problem facing homeless people in Taiwan isn’t access to housing, it’s access to stable employment. With this in mind, local groups within Taipei have been creating innovative strategies to help the homeless within the city, which contains the majority of Taiwan’s homeless population. Here are some important facts about homelessness in Taiwan, as well as the creative solutions being proposed to help the homeless get off of the streets.

Demographics

The homeless are often under-counted. While almost 9,300 people were reported as homeless in 2017 (almost double the number reported in 2013) this statistic may not be completely accurate. As long as a person’s family has some form of housing, they would not be considered homeless even if they are currently sleeping on the streets. Without accurate data, the government and other organizations can not properly address the problem of homelessness in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s homeless tend to be elderly, male, blue-collar workers. The exporting of production-line jobs to China, combined with Taiwan’s increased housing prices, has caused many factory workers to lose their jobs and become homeless. The majority of the workforce was men over 50, who are now the majority of the homeless in Taiwan. While the average age of homeless people in Taiwan is 55, they usually have only received an elementary school education, making it hard for them to find employment.

Causes

Low birth rates contribute to homelessness in Taiwan. Wages are stagnant while prices increase, making it harder for people to afford to have children in Taiwan. This decrease in birth rates has led to an older population, which in turn leads to elderly people getting abandoned due to the lack of resources within a family.

There is a stereotype against the homeless. A common opinion among society in Taiwan is that homeless people are “naturally inclined” to become homeless, whether that be because they like to roam the streets or they simply dislike working. However, a 2013 study showed that 90% of homeless people were on the streets due to circumstances out of their control; long-term unemployment was cited as the number one reason for homelessness in Taiwan. In “Living Conditions of the Homeless in Taipei,” Shu-rong Li showed that almost 50% of people were homeless due to an inability to pay rent. Not only that, but landlords were more likely to deny renting to single men ages 55-65 because of concerns about their economic statuses.

There is not enough government housing in Taiwan. Only 3% of the total housing stock in Taiwan is publicly-funded government housing. Because of this, it can take up to seven years to get into public housing, whereas private housing is almost immediate. Private housing (outside of major cities) is the popular choice of homeless people who need a place to live.

Solutions

There are already groups working on the ground in Taipei to end homelessness in Taiwan. Their solutions usually center around helping the homeless get back into the workforce. The Homeless Taiwan Association provides just these opportunities: in the organization’s Hidden Taipei tours, they train and employ homeless people to give tours of the city. In its first year in 2015, the Hidden Taipei tours attracted almost 2,000 customers and received many favorable reviews.

Not only does the Homeless Taiwan Association employ homeless people, but the organization also works to provide shelter, social service, counseling, and legal aid to those on the streets. They say that the way forward to end homelessness in Taiwan is by helping the homeless become self-sufficient, changing the stigma around homelessness and enhancing the public understanding of poverty.

– Hannah Daniel
Photo: Pixabay

Prosperity in TaiwanAfter World War II, Taiwan faced severe poverty. The conflict between China and Japan ravaged the land, and the Chinese Civil War that followed brought about even more destruction. By then, the majority of the Taiwanese people lived in absolute poverty; over 60% of the population were farmers just scraping by. However, as of 2019, Taiwan’s GDP broke $1.2 trillion. With a Purchasing Power Parity of $52,300, Taiwan now ranks 19th highest in terms of GDP per capita. So, how did prosperity in Taiwan develop so quickly?

Foreign Aid

After the war, nations, especially the United States, provided aid for hundreds of millions. From 1950 to 1965, U.S. Aid accounted for roughly 6.5% of Taiwan’s GDP. The stimulus worked: the funds sparked Taiwan’s economy and resulted in self-sustainable and rapid economic growth. The country became part of a group called The Four Asian Tigers, consisting of Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The rapid industrialization of these nations pushed their economic growth rates near 8%, which is an extraordinarily high mark. In Taiwan’s case, this phenomenon became known as the Taiwan Miracle.

Agricultural Economy

When the Japanese occupied Taiwan, they established a tenant farming system. More than 70% of farmers were part of this system, where they labored only to give the majority of their harvest to their landlords. The distribution of land, wealth and power was absurdly unequal.

However, after the war, in 1949, Taiwan’s Provisional Governor, Chen Cheng, advocated for land reform that would allow farmers to own the land they toiled. The revolution took place without bloodshed. Moreover, rice yield went up 46% in just a 4-year span after the reform, from 1.037 million metric tons in 1948 to 1.517 million metric tons in 1952. This increased yield freed up a vast labor source, who left the farms and sought new opportunities.

Investing in People

With little natural resources on the island, Taiwan took to investing in its greatest asset: the people. An indicator called the Human Development Index score is calculated in regards to the standard of living, life expectancy and education of a country. Taiwan’s Human Development Index score of 0.880 ranks them 6th in Asia.

Taiwan’s investments in education led to valuable innovation. In 1987, Taiwan established the world’s first semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Today, TSMC is the third-largest producer of semiconductors, right behind South Korea’s Samsung and the United States’ Intel. These chips are found in electrical devices around the world, and, moreover, TSMC provides thousands of high-paying jobs. The current state of the Taiwanese economy sets a definitive difference from the agricultural economy just a few decades ago; prosperity in Taiwan is exponentially greater today than it used to be.

Conclusion

Taiwan’s rapid shift from poor to prosperous, also known as the Taiwan Miracle, demonstrates how foreign aid can greatly influence the development of a nation. Their story is one of rags to riches on a national scale.

Today, prosperity in Taiwan marks the country among the wealthiest in Asia despite its small size. Taiwan has experienced the first-hand benefits of aid; now, Taiwan has become a donor itself. The country works to lessen poverty, increase harvests and assist with medical care across the globe. Perhaps the countries receiving Taiwan’s aid will someday become the next helping hand, and the Taiwan Miracle will live on in the receiving and giving of other developing countries to continue the chain effect of poor to prosperous.

Jacob Pugmire
Photo: Unsplash

Renewable Energy in Taiwan
Renewable energy in Taiwan has not always been a priority. However, in recent years, more companies and businesses are starting to push renewable resources to the forefront. This is having a huge effect on both the economy and international relations. By investing in these renewable resources rather than importing fossil fuels, Taiwan will become more self-reliant. Here are five facts about renewable energy in Taiwan.

5 Facts About Renewable Energy in Taiwan

  1. Oil still supplies 48 percent of energy to the country. Renewable energy in Taiwan is not as popular as in Brazil, where renewable energy supplies more than two-thirds of the country with power. However, Taiwan has begun to shift its focus towards more renewable resources. Diversifying fuel sources has advantages. By being able to harness solar and wind power, Taiwan can depend on its own nation for power rather than importing coal from other parts of the world. Currently, Taiwan imports 98 percent of all of its non-renewable energy. Adding locally sourced solar and wind power could help create jobs, adding to the domestic economy.
  2. Taiwan is investing $1 trillion into renewable energy. This investment, which will take place over the next several years, should make Taiwan one of Asia’s greenest countries. The money will go towards building solar panels, wind panels and green roofing. Additionally, the government will spend some of the funds on denuclearizing Taiwan. The Taiwanese government reports this will create at least 20,000 new jobs while increasing the overall amount of renewable energy powering the country by 20 percent.
  3. Renewable energy in Taiwan is a major focus over the next few years. With the new trillion-dollar investment, Taiwan will begin a new era prioritizing renewable resources. By the end of 2020, Taiwan will add an additional 2.2 GW of solar power nationally. By the end of 2025, Taiwan should continue growing and supply approximately 20 GW of solar power. The plan is to build the solar panels on rooftops and in agricultural areas. Around 1,000 hectares of farmland will redevelop into a solar farm to boost the overall renewable energy in the nation.
  4. Taiwan has a Green Bond System. Starting in 2013, the Green Bond System has been helping Taiwanese businesses raise funds for their environmentally-friendly products. Many different types of projects can use the Green Bond System. Some examples are projects related to climate change, renewable energy, environmental protection and carbon reduction. Denmark-headquartered wind energy company Ørsted used these green bonds to develop wind farms in Taiwan. This helps to create new jobs by funding businesses that may not receive financial assistance otherwise.
  5. Renewable energy solutions are helping to reduce poverty. By increasing access to renewable energy, Taiwan should continue increasing the overall national employment rate, which will lower the poverty rate. While the exact number of new employment opportunities is unknown, the Taiwanese government has assured the population that jobs will continue to grow with the renewable energy sector. There will also be opportunities for data engineers, machine learning scientists, data scientists and many business marketing jobs. A report from 2019 showed that there is a 12 percent increase in the technology sector for jobs relating to renewable energy. The data also points out that after just 12 months in a job, many employees receive a 15 percent salary increase.

Renewable energy is proving to be a very promising sector in Taiwan. It is providing new jobs to citizens and improving the overall way of life. By creating its own renewable energy, Taiwan is quickly becoming a more self-reliant and resilient country. With this continued focus, the nation will generate more opportunities for its citizens while helping to fight climate change.

– Asha Swann
Photo: Flickr

Eradicating Poverty Through ICTs
Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) are social networking websites, instant messaging programs, cell phones and other technologies that allow people to communicate quickly and globally. Information emanates through these technologies allowing developing countries to step into the digital world. Eradicating poverty through ICTs now seems plausible as citizens include themselves in new economic and coordinated opportunities.

ICTs’ Range of Impact

In the Asia-Pacific, governments utilize ICTs to expand markets and introduce services. They have adapted to using e-commerce, supporting businesses that allow more people to become engaged with the government and programs. New strategies constantly emerge as Asian-Pacific authorities and organizations address poverty.

Bangladesh

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides solutions globally for poverty and these differ depending on the country. In Bangladesh, the UNDP pushed an initiative called the Access to Information Act or the a2i. The main focus of this act is to offer citizens the right to public information, allowing multiple interpretations for data such as records. By implementing this act, Bangladesh has reduced the costs of access to health and education information services. The amount of time it took for residents to receive information on their phones or computers dropped by 85 percent and the cost dropped by 63 percent. Digitization of rural areas has saved the local residents half a billion dollars.

Vietnam

The UNDP focuses on e-government policies. According to the United Nations, e-government encompasses the delivery and exchange of information between government and citizens. Vietnam now supports online businesses and allows people to pay taxes over the computer. Services, as an effect, run more efficiently and people have more ready access to transfers or deposits. The number of internet broadband subscribers reached 11.5 million and many expect it to grow 9 percent annually along with 47.2 million on cellular data due to the rapid growth of applications. ICTs affect the way the country runs as well; towns have adopted ICTs, using them in creative ways to provide water and electricity.

Taiwan

Recently, Taiwan has grown into a major manufacturer of ICTs, leading to the export of its products. The Cloud Computing Association of Taiwan (CCAT) devotes itself to making the country an exporter of cloud software. At home, these developed cloud systems save service providers 50 percent, avoiding the need to purchase from overseas. The country’s National Communications Commission proposes to provide all of its citizens with ICTs. It appoints companies to offer universal broadband access to mountain villages, projected to make Taiwan the first country with complete internet coverage. Rural peoples have access to data, and the government offers programs to teach rural residents how to properly use technologies, adapting more to the digital age, helping the goal of eradicating poverty through ICTs.

How ICTs Affect Poverty in the Long Run

The UNDP believes that ICTs should create a direct change in the economy and welfare of various nations. However, failure to address the issue to all people in a country, globally too, creates a gap between those accustomed to technology and those who are not. To continue on the path of eradicating poverty through ICTs, governments must continue to pledge support and work with organizations. The countries above benefit by having their governments providing opportunities to learn new technology as well as adapting technology for other everyday services.

Daniel Bertetti
Photo: Flickr

Life Expectancy in Taiwan

Taiwan is a small island off the eastern coast of China. The small country, rich in culture, food and language, is also known for their longevity and aging population. Additionally, over time, Taiwan has seen an increase in advocacy for better living standards of citizens of Taiwan; in turn, increasing the life expectancy in Taiwan. Here are the top 10 facts about life expectancy in Taiwan.

Top 10 Facts About Life Exectancy in Taiwan:

  1. According to the CIA World Factbook, Taiwan’s life expectancy is 80.4 years old. For men, it ranks at 77.2 years and for women, 83.7 years. As a whole, the country ranks 43rd globally in life expectancy.
  2. The Taipei Times state that, the country is experiencing a long-term improvement in life expectancy, as a result of the National Health Insurance, better hospitals and higher standards of living.
  3. Residents living on the west coast have a longer life expectancy than those living on the east. This is because many of the major cities are in locations closer to financial districts. These include Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taichung, which are on the west coast, closer to China and Hong Kong, financial capitals.
  4. Taiwan has been experiencing a longer life expectancy since 1950. The era during the mid-1990s was a period of growth for Taiwan. For example, during this time, more than a million people traveled from Mainland China to Taiwan, many of which were better educated, with distinct professional profiles. Since then, Taiwan has been experiencing a rapid demographic transition and substantial economic development. In turn, there has been a decline in mortality and an increase in health and life expectancy.
  5. Taitung, a county on the east coast of Taiwan, has the shortest life expectancy at 75.05 years, according to the Ministry of Interior statistics. Taitung’s life expectancy is five years less than the national average due to several possible factors. This includes deficient transportation infrastructure, fewer medical services and lifestyle choices. It is evident that the effects of poverty have impacts on the longevity of the population. Some of these effects include a lack of access to medical resources and transportation.
  6. According to Focus Taiwan, life spans have been increasing steadily for decades. In fact, it has increased from 78.4 in 2017 to 80.4 presently. This is due to improvements in medical care, awareness of public food safety and the growing popularity of exercise. Improvements in the health sector by the government and general changes in mentality around diet and exercise in the public are clear indicators of the reduction of poverty, resulting in longer lives.
  7. As life expectancy in Taiwan’s grows, so does the aging population which n turn puts pressure on welfare and pension programs. To combat this, Taiwan has instated the Long-term Care Plan 2.0, a 10-year initiative that aims to provide affordable, comprehensive care to the aging population. For example, centers like Wei Ai Lun operate under the Long-term Care Plan 2.0. This center and provides activities and programs for seniors to engage, socialize and become active parts of their communities. Programs like the Long-term Care Plan 2.0 are part of Taiwan’s effort to consolidate their aging population.
  8. According to the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, around 86.3 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. However, the Taiwanese life span of men and women is continually growing. This is due to the National Health Insurance Program, a compulsory social insurance plan that covers examinations for elders no matter their age or income. The maintenance of the health of senior citizens is one of the major factors in life expectancy in Taiwan.
  9. Taiwan’s long-living population is a result of lifelong learning actively promoted by the government. In 2006, the Taiwanese government released a white paper titled, “Toward the Aged Society: Policies on Education for Older Adults,” which aims to encourage older adults to be active participants in their community. The government encourages socialization, autonomy and engagement of thousands of older adult through learning classes held throughout Taiwan.
  10. Taiwan’s success in preserving its older population is due to efforts in not only providing medical services and promoting lifelong learning. It expands to also devoting resources to developing geriatric research. Organizations like the Taiwan Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (TAGG) work to improve the lives of older adults by advancing studies in gerontology and geriatrics. Other organizations like the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly (FWE) advocate and protect elders’ rights.

Life expectancy in Taiwan has been steadily growing since the 1950s. Although its resulting aging population puts a strain on pension and welfare systems, the Taiwanese government’s endeavors on aging through policy, research and promotion have evidently resulted in great successes in the older adult populations.

– Andrew Yang
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

With more than 23.5 million citizens, the island of Taiwan is one of the most populated islands in the entire world.

Although many inhabitants are fluent in English, the official language of the land is Mandarin Chinese. Those who are born in Taiwan will often spend their lives in the country, along with those who move there.

Due to the delicious food, variety of outdoor activities, and diverse people, Taiwan is home to many exciting opportunities and an extravagant culture.

In the text below, top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

  1. The cost of living in Taiwan is cheaper than the cost of living in the Western or densely populated countries such as Japan or China. Rent prices in Taiwan are 17.90 percent lower than those in Japan and grocery prices are 14.92 percent lower.
  2. The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is most known for its convenience. Many apartment complexes are within walking distance of many grocery markets, convenience stores, coffee shops and local restaurants. Contrary to the Western ones, Taiwanese convenience stores offer other services besides selling groceries and goods such as printing and utility payment counters.
  3. Along with its convenience, Taiwan is the destination for a variety of outdoor activities. The activities such as hiking, biking, camping, mountain climbing, paragliding, river tracing and surfing are wildly popular among native citizens and foreign tourists. With scenic geography, varied coastlines, cliffs, waterfalls and rivers, Taiwan offers many easily accessible opportunities to enjoy nature.
  4. Taiwan adopted a national health care system in 1995. Often praised for its easy accessibility, short waiting times, low cost and comprehensive population coverage, the National Health Insurance (NIH) system combined many small insurance schemes that only covered 57 percent of the population before 1995, into a singular, efficient national insurance system. Every Taiwanese citizen has an NIH card that identifies the person, brief medical history and payment information.
  5. Although the NIH covers an estimated 99 percent of the Taiwanese population, excluding those who have moved out of the country, the outpatient and wait times are relatively high. The average outpatient department rate is 14 patients per year per person. It is also not rare for many general practitioners to consult more than 50 people in a day, therefore limiting time with each individual patient to 5 minutes or less. Short contact times could contribute to misdiagnosis and higher patient volume and medical costs with searches for a second or third opinion.
  6. There are many environmental hazards that are prevalent in the urban areas of Taiwan. Vehicle pollution contributes to the occasion smog that may plague large and small cities such as Taipei and worsens air conditions around the suburban and rural areas. A lot of the air pollution that plagues Taiwanese inhabitants are blown down from mainland China.
  7. Environmental degradation is mainly caused by Taiwan’s increase in economy and industrialization. Taiwan’s economic success was in part contributed by zero restrictions concerning healthy environmental criteria. Water pollution is caused by 25 percent domestic sewage, 54 percent industrial water waste and 21 percent domestic animal waste. Untreated sewage water has caused high cases of hepatitis and with waste freely dumped in the water, air and on land, occupational diseases and cancer has doubled in the country since 1954.
  8. Many rural areas that supply agricultural goods have moved from pesticides and herbicides to the conservation of biodiversity among farms and forestry. In May 2018, with the help of the Forestry Bureau and local nongovernment organizations, as many as 200 farms across Taiwan have stopped chemical farming and began engaging in environmentally friendly farming.
  9. Impoverishment in Taiwan is met if the household average monthly income does not meet the estimated monthly minimum of its respective province or district. According to the National Encyclopedia, poverty in Taiwan only affects about 1 percent of its inhabitants, estimated at 129,968 people. This low number is a result of the government’s support of welfare programs that offer a variety of assistance and opportunities for low-income families. In 1999, the government allocated $5.08 billion for social welfare programs to support job-placement assistance, civic organizations, academic institutions and other foundations that aid with displaced or disadvantaged citizens.
  10. The Taiwanese government offers many elderly services to help support those who are retired or disabled. Social welfare programs offer day care services for elders who suffer from dementia, in-care home services for those over 65 with disabilities, residential homes, health insurance premium subsidies, protection services, special caregivers for low-income families, senior citizens services information hotlines and long-term care.

According to an InterNations Expat Insider Survey, 84 percent of expatriates were satisfied with their financial situation in Taiwan compared to the global average of 64 percent.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan highlight how the welcoming and exciting atmosphere of Taiwan not only provide a satisfactory home for the country’s natives but also an inviting hand towards tourists and expatriates.

– Aria Ma

Photo: Flickr

 

facts about human rights in Taiwan

In August 2018, Taiwan was selected to host the Human Rights Forum. The Forum, according to the New York Times, is run by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and has been held in Oslo every year since 2009. The Human Rights Foundation’s chief strategy officer Alex Gladstein explained that the forum’s goal is to inform activists around the world about Taiwan’s transition to democracy, which is an example of democracy in a Chinese society. As international human rights organizations recognize Taiwan’s unique position in Asia as an advocate for human rights and democracy, it is important to highlight several key facts about human rights in Taiwan.

Judiciary reform

According to the Taiwan 2017 Human Rights Report, there are no acknowledged instances of torture carried out against accused persons. Furthermore, to address issues of overcrowding in prisons, in June 2017, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice gave prison inmates the right to maintain jobs outside the prison. The report indicated that 19 inmates had minimum monthly salaries of 690 U.S. dollars of which 60 percent was used as restitution to crime victims. Even more encouraging is that detention centers allowed both government and non-governmental inspections of the prisons. It is also important to note that prisoners have rights to legal counseling.

Also, arrests of individuals require warrants or summons. The report emphasized that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Regarding civil issues, an “impartial judiciary” is provided.

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech and the press are observed in Taiwan, especially involving internet access. Taiwan also does not restrict academic freedom or cultural events.

In April 2018, the New York Times noted that Reporters Without Borders are going to open their first Asian bureau in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. They decided to do so after considering, but rejecting Hong Kong. Taiwan’s selection over Hong Kong is tied with increasing pressure from the Government of China to Hong Kong, allowing Taiwan to surpass Hong Kong as the synonym for free speech in Asia.

Voting rights and protection of sexual assault victims

While Taiwan currently does not offer refugees protection, it does allow its citizens to migrate within its borders, emigrate from, and travel internationally. Such policies are not necessarily permanent, however, as Taiwan offers citizens the rights to elect government leaders through “secret ballot.” Suffrage is given to all citizens, including women.

Taiwan law prohibits rape, especially spousal rape, and domestic violence, but it is important to note that these crimes are often not reported. In addition, rape survivors are given protection in a way that they can endure their trials away from the public eye and the law permits a charge of rape even if the victim chooses not to press charges. This provision is one of the key facts about human rights in Taiwan, as charges for sexual assault can still be carried out, regardless of the social pressures that discourage victims to report. Also, the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act allows the use of one-way mirrors, video conferencing, or other practices to protect victims during questioning and trial.

In recent years, Taiwan became the front-runner of human rights in Asia, as seen through its shift toward judiciary reform, freedom of expression and increased protections for sexual assault victims. These key facts about human rights in Taiwan merit activists’ decision to host the upcoming Human Rights Forum and showcase Taiwan’s accomplishments and the path towards achieving even better results in the future

Christine Leung
Photo: Google

Women's Empowerment in Taiwain

Since ancient times, Taiwan has been part of China. The 23.5 million Taiwanese have a variety of similarities in language, culture, social and domestic habits with residents of China mainland. Women’s empowerment in Taiwan made a lot of progress in the past few decades. Thanks to family law amendments between 1996 and 2002, the legal rights of Taiwanese women improved. Women’s empowerment in Taiwan was among the top five Asia Pacific nations in 2013.

A 2013 survey presented an index of three indicators: employment, education and leadership. Among all participating Asian countries, Taiwan scored third in the employment indicator and second in women’s attendance in government. In regular employment and higher education, Taiwan’s score indicated that the job market and academia favor women over men.

Following the January 2016 election in Taiwan, the proportion of female legislators was 38 percent, putting it far ahead of the global average of 22 percent, many of its Asian counterparts as well as other nations including Britain, Germany and the U.S.

Since 1998, revised regulations were helpful to women’s empowerment in Taiwan by protecting property rights, prioritizing the best interests of children and allowing more freedom in divorce. Revisions to family law attenuated the superiority of a husband’s decisions on residence, property management and disciplinary measures. The Domestic Violence Prevention Law also has similar orientations on protecting women from mental and physical harm by their spouses.

A new employment law in May 2016 stipulated that any firm with more than 100 employees must provide a nursing room, childcare facilities or off-site alternatives. Official statistics showed that female labor participation increased from 45.3 percent in 1995 to 50.7 percent in 2015, and more than 90 percent of women aged 25-29 hold gainful employment at present.

In 2006, Landmarks of Women’s Culture in Taiwan was published by National Cultural Association, featuring many pioneering women in the nation. From 2013 to 2015, the Project on Women and Economic Development was spearheaded in Taiwan, where females played a keynote role on several forums of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Innovation. In October 2017, an APEC workshop hosted 60 women from 14 nations in Taipei, with the goal of promoting women and girl’s participation in STEM majors.

While women’s empowerment in Taiwan performs well among Asian-Pacific regions, issues of violence and discrimination require further concern. Most notably, real gender equality and empowerment of women must aim at cultural cognition, which promotes social harmony.

– Xin Gao

                                               

Taiwan Travel ActThe U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed the Taiwan Travel Act, allowing official travel between the U.S. and Taiwan. The State Department had previously placed restrictions on travel that prevented government officials from traveling to or from Taiwan. The enactment of the Taiwan Travel Act denounces these restrictions, encouraging diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

Taiwan was previously a highly impoverished and war-torn country. Its development towards economic stability happened rapidly after the Taiwanese government began promoting the exportation of goods and global trade in the late 1960s. Since then, the quality of life in Taiwan has increased substantially. Forbes even awarded Taiwan the number one destination for people who are interested in moving to live in another country, naming it “the best place for quality of life as well as for personal finances” above any other country. However, the number of Taiwanese citizens relying on social welfare is continually increasing, and in 2012 the number of people living below the poverty line shot up nearly 30 percent.

Taiwan Travel Act: An Economic Enhancement

The Taiwan Travel Act enactment will help improve Taiwan’s failing economy by improving its economic relationship with the U.S. Taiwan’s economy relies heavily on exports, and the U.S. is Taiwan’s most important market for trade. However, Taiwan’s exportation of goods to the U.S has been steadily declining. Faced with a rapidly changing global market, Taiwan’s inability to compete with other countries stems from its inability to negotiate better trade agreements and forge more mutually beneficial partnerships.

The Taiwan Travel Act states that it is now the policy of the U.S. to encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United States. This includes activities that involve participation by Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State or local governments of the U.S, or any high-level official of Taiwan. This change will drastically improve the economic potential of Taiwan, allowing its leaders to negotiate on behalf of their best economic interests and stop trade decline.

– Jenae Atwell

Photo: Flickr