This Week in Taiwan 0816-0822

August 18: The Changhua County Public Health Bureau actively tested asymptomatic people and accidentally found a teenager under home isolation who returned to Taiwan from the united states test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), but Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung ordered the bureau chief to be subject to an ethics investigation on why he violated inspection regulations. The Office of the President, Executive Yuan, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as well as DPP legislators and Internet army, also aggressively attacked this whistleblower who took the initiative to uncover the virus.

In cooperation with National Taiwan University College of Public Health, the Public Health Bureau in Changhua has helped to carry out coronavirus antibody testing. The mid-term report was supposed to be released on August 25 but was canceled by an advance announcement on August 23. 

Update: Results of serum antibodies were announced on the morning of August 27. Four (4) people tested positive out of 4,841, and the positive rate of high-risk individuals was 8.3 percent. The results indicate that Taiwan is safe from community transmission.


August 18: The National Development Council announced its population projection report. Taiwan’s population growth turned negative this year, two years earlier than the last projection in 2018. In addition, Taiwan will become a super high-aged society in 2025, meaning that one of every five will be a senior above 65 years of age. By 2034, most of the Taiwanese population will be middle and old-aged, over age 50. 


August 18: To prevent such mainland Chinese over-the-top (OTT) media services iQIYI and Tencent from illegally operating in Taiwan through agents or distributors, the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), made a preliminary announcement that effective September 3, Taiwanese businesses will be prohibited from acting as an agent for said businesses. 


August 19: The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), recently investigated several cases of hacking government agencies and found that mainland Chinese hacker organizations, including Blacktech, Taidoor, Mustang Panda, and APT40, used four providers of information services for Taiwanese government agencies as ‘springboards” to launch attacks. They have hacked into at least 10 government agencies, including the Taipei City Government, the Water Resources Agency of the MOEA, and a national university, attempting to steal classified information. The information may have already been intercepted. The MJIB has set up a task force to actively investigate. 


August 20: In Taoyuan, a male used a knife to cut her mother 37 times and even threw her detached head out from the 12th floor of a building. He was originally sentenced to life imprisonment in the first trial but was acquitted and released in an appellate trial based on the psychiatric evaluation that drug use led to his inability to identify illegal behavior. The result caused public uproar and public discussions about the social safety net. 


August 20: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has repeatedly caused interference near Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Around 4 PM on August 20, PLA aircrafts entered east of the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, flying around Taiwan’s ADIZ for nearly 1.5 hour. According to local media reports on August 17, Taiwanese air force pilots on duty must strictly abide by combat preparedness guidelines. If a pilot did not receive an order from the Air Force Combat Command and fires without authorization, then he will be prosecuted immediately after landing from air duty.


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