Daily Bloom, 7.14.14

Welcome to the Daily Bloom! The Daily Bloom will be a daily shortform blog with updates on the day’s political going-ons. If something particularly exciting happening in Taiwan, we will be providing live updates on our Facebook page and Twitter account. At the end of the day, we will compile the live updates to provide a chronological timeline of the day’s events. If not, we will simply report on what happened that day, or what might be of note that happened. If you have news tips about what would be interesting to cover, send to [email protected]!

July 14, 2014

The 5000th 7-Eleven store in Taiwan opens in Kaoshiung last Friday. 7-Eleven opened its first store in Taiwan in 1979. Alex C. Lo, chairman of the Uni-President conglomerate that owns 7-Eleven, also known as the President Chain Store, said he would consider opening 7-Eleven in prisons in the future. In the meantime, the opening of a 7-Eleven on Orchid Island, causes controversy because of its threat of displacing local businesses. Indeed, while this is the latest chapter in the long saga of controversy surrounding Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu (蘭嶼), a nuclear waste disposal site. Yet the spread of convenience stores in Taiwan historically led to the displacement of family owned grocery stores once commonplace (雜貨店, literally mixed wares stores). Taiwan possesses the highest density of 7-Eleven stores in the world.

Taiwanese bookstore chain Eslite accused of removing books related to Tibet from Hong Kong stores. Details are unclear because Eslite employees are forbidden from speaking to press, yet the bookstore chain plans on expanding to Suzhou and Shanghai in the near future and so may have received pressure from the Chinese government. In the past, Eslite stores in Taiwan have been less restrictive on political dissent, however; following the ramming of a truck into the gate of the Presidential Residence in January of this year as an act of protest, a model display of the Presidential Residence set up in Eslite’s Songyan store the following week featured a truck that looked as though it were posed to ram the gate. The arrangement of the model caused controversy and was initially ordered to be removed, before the order was rescinded.

The Singapore Court of Appeal, Singapore’s highest court, hears appeals challenging its ban on gay sex. Section 377A, as the law is known dates to 1938, but the government claims it has not been actively enforced since the mid-90s. There has been cases of the censorship of depictions of homosexuality in the media, however, and 185 arrests made under Section 377A from 1997 to 2006. According to surveys, LGBTQ issues remain controversial among Singaporeans, although annual gay pride event Pink Dot brought out 26,000 last month, and has garnered the sponsorship of companies such as Barclays and Google.

A poll reveals approximately 70% do not trust the Taiwanese judicial system. 78% do not think there will ever be a independent judicial system. In addition, only 6.9% say that the KMT works for the interest of all Taiwanese, yet only 14.9% also thought that the DPP works for the interest of all Taiwanese. It would appear that faith in political parties remains low among Taiwanese yet, of course, no alternative appears yet in sight. The poll was conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research.