This Week in Taiwan 0719-0725

July 19: At the National Party Congress of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), President and Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen stated that constitutional reform is most important on Taiwan's reform agenda. In addition to lowering the voting age to 18, the DPP will also push to abolish the Examination Yuan and Control Yuan. The Legislative Yuan will begin deliberating constitutional reform in the next session. The Kuomintang (KMT) is expected to undergo internal debate as to whether the party supports abolishing the Examination and Control branches.

July 21: According to a newspaper, the United States announced the sale of PATRIOT Advanced Capability – 3 (PAC-3), which cost NT$18.2 billion (about US$620 million). But the Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa and Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi were both unaware. The Air Force Air Defense Artillery Command had acted on its own. The Air Force acknowledged its mistake that its subordinate unit did not abide by the regulation that maintenance fees over NT$1 billion (about US$34 million) must be approved by the Ministry of National Defense and submitted a list of officers to be disciplined.


July 21: The KMT exposed a classified memorandum by the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia indicating that Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan of the Office of the President (then Legislative Yuan speaker) and his nephew Legislator Su Chen-ching excluded the representative office, used a human resources broker Yang Luck International Manpower Group to access high-level Indonesian officials to pursue self-interest, and that a company related to Yang Luck won a tender amounting to over NT$1 billion (about US$34 million) from a Taiwanese state-owned enterprise. Taipei City Councilors Lo Chih-chiang and Yu Shu-hui called upon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to explain to the people whether there was any corruption during the process and whether President Tsai Ing-wen was aware.  

July 22: The Legislative Yuan passed the Citizen Judges Act, officially adopting Japanese-style system of lay judges. Citizens aged 23 and older will be eligible to serve as citizen judges, who will work with professional judges to try specific criminal cases. The first stage is expected to take effect in 2023.

July 23: KMT Kaohsiung mayoral by-election candidate Li Mei-jhen was alleged to have plagiarized her master thesis. Li announced that she would give up her in-service master degree from National Sun Yat-sen University and request the Kaohsiung Election Commission to delete her graduate degree from her education information under the electoral bulletin.

Li is suspected to have plagiarized content in her master thesis "Analysis of Taiwan's Trade Towards Mainland China" published in 2008. Up to 96 percent of the pages contains allegedly plagiarized content. Li allegedly copied a July 2000 thesis by a master student of National Taipei University. The case has led to questions about the theses and dissertations of many Taiwanese politicians.

July 23: Apropos the cigarette smuggling case which came to light more than a year ago, the Control Yuan issued corrections against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance. But the most critical National Security Bureau was not corrected, and Control Yuan President (then secretary-general to the president) Chen Chu was not held responsible either, creating public uproar. KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua blasted the Control Yuan for such a disappointing report. According to Lin, the people no longer have positive expectations for the future Control Yuan.


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