thenewslens_intl

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Taiwan Protesters Gear Up to Kibosh Coal

In the same week that saw French president Emmanuel Macron warn that the world is losing the battle against climate change during the “One Planet” summit in Paris, Taiwanese citizens are gearing up to take that battle to the streets.<p>This weekend, thousands of people are expected to attend rallies …

Climate

Malaysia PM Najib Set to Retain Power Despite 1MBD Scandal

This year could not have been better politically for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. On the surface, Najib appeared to be in political trouble with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) scandal hanging over his head and with his arch-rival former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad leading the …

Najib Razak

US Navy Calls to Taiwan Must Weigh China Costs

Li Kexin, speaking at the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington last week told hundreds of people assembled at an embassy event, that calls by U.S. Navy vessels at ports in Taiwan would violate China’s “Anti-Secession Law” of 2005 and automatically spark a military response.<p>The …

China

Onboard with Taipei's Rooftop Apartment Demolition Team

If there is anything more iconic to Taiwan’s urban outskirts than blinking betel nut signs, it might be the off-kilter corrugated-steel additions on nearly every rooftop. <i>Dinglou Jiagai</i> (頂樓加蓋), illegal rooftop apartments, have been a symptom of Taiwan’s urban expansion since the Japanese era, but a …

Taiwan

Myanmar Refugees Face Resettlement Funding Crisis

Ever since political and ethnic conflict erupted in 1948, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced and left to flee to and settle along the border with Thailand. These refugees are predominantly from Myanmar’s ethnic minorities and as the conflict between ethnic armed …

Asia

President Xi: Not as Powerful as You Think

The 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is over, and while it is still too early to truly assess the new leadership team Xi Jinping has assembled, there are a number of conclusions that seem apropos at this early stage, now that the big party of the world’s biggest Party is …

China

China's New Credit Rating System Signals Gamification of Life

In 2014, the Chinese government announced the creation of a “social credit rating system” to be instituted in 2020. The coming social credit system has its roots in a general fear that public morale is in decline and a wish to facilitate a shift away from personalized trust to an institutionalized …

Taiwan

Can Abe Use the North Korean Threat to Change the Japanese Constitution?

On the morning of Nov. 29 in Tokyo, the breaking news was not Kim Jong-Un firing another missile but that sumo grand champion Haruma Fuji had announced his retirement following a week of the scandal surrounding an alleged attack on a junior wrestler.<p>As the two stories played out in the media during …

North Korea

Cash Grants are Failing Taiwan's Indigenous People

The complexity of Taiwan’s history and successive waves of colonization (China, Japan, China) play a role in constituting the modern Taiwanese identity. This new identity began to arise in the late 1980s to early 1990s and evolved from a progressive will to unite the different ethnicities living on …

Asia

OPINION: Time for Kaohsiung to Wage War against Pollution

A man rides by on a 50cc scooter built sometime in the 1990s. The ancient moped billows toxic fumes as two officers on modern police scooters appear not to notice. Luckily for the elderly moped rider, he's wearing a face mask.<p>A woman struggles to put her decrepit Nissan Homer (a kind of van) into …

Taiwan

Huge Labor Law Protests in Kaohsiung Threaten DPP Unity

With reportedly more than 30,000 people taking to the streets yesterday in Kaohsiung in demonstration against planned changes to the Labor Standards Act, significantly larger than any protest in Taipei to date, pressure upon the DPP regarding planned changes will continue, increasing the likelihood …

Asia

As Chinese Internet Controls Tighten, Internet Slang Gains a Subversive Power

Chinese internet chatrooms are awash with a hubbub of hilarious, if somewhat baffling, catchphrases. Has your forum buddy dropped a deft witticism into the conversation? Then show your appreciation by typing “666,” a frenetic play on the Chinese word "liu", which means “skillful, adept, or smooth.” …

China

OPINION: Taiwan or Vietnam – Which Has Weaker Labor Standards?

Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) Cabinet last month revised the Labor Standards Act on the grounds of “giving more flexibility to employees and employers” in terms of working hours. It is obvious, however, that this was only intended to give more flexibility to employers.<p>Under their logic, these new rules will …

China

Q&A: Are the DPP's Renewable Energy Efforts a Sham?

The target set by Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to raise the proportion of Taiwan's energy generated from renewable sources to 20 percent from the current 5 percent by 2025 is drawing closer. As the government scrambles to fulfill its obligations to voters and phase out …

Renewable Energy

CARTOON: Tsai 's Truth and Justice Special

Taiwan President Tsai Ying-wen (蔡英文) last week brought an old campaign promise to the table: The Act on Promoting Transitional Justice.<p>Its passage means that many of the wrongs of the martial law period will be brought to light, streets and schools will get renamed, and many criminal convictions …

Taiwan

OPINION: Australia Must Confront China's Academic Interference

Allen & Unwin’s recent decision not to publish Professor Clive Hamilton’s book "Silent Invasion", which examines the growing and surreptitious Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence in Australia, and the cancellation of Hamilton’s appearance at the next year’s Adelaide Writer’s Week, raises …

China

OPINION: Is Taiwan Really a Beacon for LGBT Rights in Asia?

Taiwan, with its commitment to be the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage, should have been the star of the 2017 ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) Asia conference in Phnom Penh. In reality, it was hardly a blip on the radar.<p>A previous speaker at …

LGBTQ

Reporters Without Borders Condemns Western Tech Execs for China Endorsement

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the international community and the world’s Internet giants to resist China’s use of the concept of national “cyberspace sovereignty” as a pretext for exporting its Internet surveillance model.<p>The concept was reaffirmed again at China’s annual World Internet …

China

REVIEW: 'A System Apart' - How HK and Beijing Played for Time Post-97

In "A System Apart- Hong Kong’s Political Economy from 1997 Until Now" (Penguin, 2017), Simon Cartledge traces the economic, social, and political changes — or rather, the lack of changes — that have made a seemingly apolitical free trade port into the city that last year saw the most protests in …

Hong Kong

Lee Kuan Yew's Legacy: Managing Succession in Singapore

One of the late Lee Kuan Yew’s most admirable acts of foresight was to usher out Singapore’s first-generation leaders in order to hasten the rejuvenation of the People’s Action Party (PAP). Giants like Goh Keng Swee, S. Rajaratnam and E.W. Barker retired from the government in the 1980s, when they …

Lee Kuan Yew

President Tsai's Transitional Justice Act Opens Old Wounds and New

Taiwan’s efforts to promote transitional justice took a solid step forward this week but will likely fall short of ambitious aims to achieve national reconciliation amid accusations of exclusivity and partisanship.<p>The Dec. 5 passage of the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) (TJA) was …

Asia

MOVIE REVIEW: 'Tshiong' – Unabashedly Taiwanese, Not to Be Missed

Comedy and metal music don’t make for easy bedfellows, "Metalocalypse" (an adult anime series) antics aside, but as fans of international Taiwanese black metal sensation Chthonic know well, the band is as notorious for their quirky ways as their heavy music.<p>A full three years after initial filming, …

Taiwan

OPINION: Why Foreign Firms Are Struggling in China

Three years ago, China overtook the United States to become the world’s most popular destination for foreign investment. Increasingly, however, overseas enterprises are finding that doing business in China is harder than it seems.<p>Recent years have seen reports of foreign retail companies shedding …

China

Singapore Is Trying to Innovate Itself Out of the World's Water Crisis

The recently-launched Sustainable Singapore Blueprint outlines the national vision for a more livable and sustainable city-state. It is a comprehensive plan to implement sustainability efforts in the domestic and non-domestic sectors, and one that challenges the city-state to be a global leader in …

Sustainability

Taiwan's Place in the World is Changing As the US Turns Inwards

U.S. President Donald Trump concluded his Asia-Pacific trip a few weeks ago, but its outcome is still being questioned. Trump’s meeting in Beijing with President Xi Jinping was by far the most important engagement given China plays an inceasingly direct competitor to the United States.<p>From the …

China

'Credit Totalitarianism' Staggers to Its Feet in China

The Chinese Party-state is building a social credit system for collecting information about all of its citizens by police, courts, and other institutions. This enables the government to reach into society to a degree unprecedented in history. According to recent reports, the system is already being …

Taiwan

Multicultural Kids to Build Bridges between Taiwan and Vietnam

It has taken me 44 years to get to Vietnam, but at least I am finally here. I wished I had arrived even sooner to witness its rapid transformation. Taiwan was one of the earliest investors in Vietnam, as early as 1988, and is the country's fourth-largest foreign investor. The cab driver who whisked …

China

INTERVIEW: Heavy Punk band ChicKNUP urges us to consider things from the hunted’s point of view

Jayko (小摳) is a striking platinum-headed figure among a sea of long-haired black metal band tee-wearing concertgoers crowded around the entrance of Little Place for Performances (小地方展演空間), a tiny concert venue off the corner of Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei's Zhongzheng district. She is …

Taiwan

Does Shenzhen Dream of a Techno-Utopia?

Visitors to the Chinese city of Shenzhen looking for evidence of cultural innovation are often bemused by the city’s overt showcasing of the artificial — a full-scale replica of the Swiss ski resort Interlaken, a miniature Eiffel Tower in a theme park called Window on the World and Van Gogh copies …

China

Groups Protest Mining on Indigenous Land in Hualian

Through the week of Nov. 23, 2017, protestors comprised mostly of indigenous peoples in Taiwan gathered at the entry to an Asia Cement Corporation mine along the Central Cross-Island Highway leading into East Taiwan’s Taroko National Park.<p>Activists assert that a permit renewal to mine on indigenous …

Indigenous Peoples