Daily Bloom, 7.24.14

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 24, 2014

Minister of Labor Pan Shih-wei resigns after Next Magazine publishes report claiming Pan involved in affair with secretary. Pan previously denied accusations, stating that Next Magazine was producing these claims simply because he was a man and his secretary a woman. This is not the only high profile resignation of a government minister in recent months due to public scandal, including the resignation of Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling after a scandal involving alleged academic fraud.

In an interview with BBC China, Premier Jiang Yi-huah stresses need for free economic zones for relations with Japan, rather than China. Jiang struck out at critics for misunderstanding the proposed free economic zones, which have come under criticism for the possibility that they might lead to Chinese economic control of China, are aimed at Japan rather than China. Jiang nevertheless stated that he viewed a meeting between Ma Ying-Jeou and Xi Jinping as necessity for the future of Taiwanese-Chinese cross-strait relations. Again, some have speculated that Taiwan and Japan may align closer together in the future to counter the threat of China, but more speculation has been in the vein of military alliance, rather than economic alliance. Jiang was a vocal critic of the Sunflower movement during the Legislative Yuan occupation.

In the same interview, Jiang also stressed that Taiwan had sent Vietnam an “ultimatum” regarding economic compensation after riots in May regarding a possible shift in relations should Taiwan not be compensated adequately. Fears of economic and territorial encroachment by China led to the outbreak of violence last May, including damages to Taiwanese factories. Jiang claimed that had the same happened in Taiwan, Taiwan would have sought to pay reparations right away, and raised the possibility of international sanctions.

Chairman of the Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Company, Kao Cheng-li, sentenced to twelve years in prison after food oil scandal. This comes as a reduction in charges after Kao was previously sentenced to 16 years in prison in December. The 2013 scandal regarding false labeling and illegal cost-cutting measures by a number of Taiwanese food companies of their products; in particular, Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Company adulterated higher grade cooking oil with lower grade cottonseed oil and added copper chlorophyllin to their olive oil. Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Company was also fined 38 million NT, but this was lowered from a previously slated fine of 50 million NT.