Daily Bloom, 8.1.14

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]!

August 1, 2014

Gas explosions rock Kaohsiung, over fifteen dead including five firefighters, upwards of 230 injured. The gas leaks in question began around 9 PM, affecting Cianjhen, Lingya, Siaogang and Cianjin districts, but appears to have begun with gas leaks in Cianjhen district. At least Cianjhen district and Lingya district have called off school and work on August 1st. Firefighters from nearby Tainan City and military troops stationed in the surrounding area have been called in for relief, but the cause of the explosions is still unknown. The number of killed and injured is expected to rise. New Bloom is and has been posting live updates, information gathering tools, and disaster relief tips on our Facebook and Twitter. Keep safe, Kaohsiung friends!

Lin Fei-fan, prominent spokesman of the Sunflower movement, criticizes DPP for lack of pro-independence stance. Lin, one of the leaders of the Black Island Youth Front which guided the Legislative Yuan occupation, and the Taiwan March organization which formed after the end of the movement, said he lacks faith in the DPP for the future in an interview in Wealth magazine. In particular, he cited the DPP’s nomination of Yu Hsi-kun as candidate for mayor of New Taipei City as a sign of party ossification, also criticized Ker Chien-ming and Su Tseng-chang, and criticized the campaign to remove the DPP’s pro-independence clause from its constitution. Lin, along with fellow Black Island spokesman Chen Wei-ting, has been cited popularly as a young leader who many would like to see go into politics in the future, however, the Black Island Youth Front has also been criticized in the past by activists for its lack of an explicitly pro-independence position. He stated the desire on his part for the organizations he is a part of to form their own party to compete with the DPP and KMT, though his is far from the only group to suggest the desire to form a third party in Taiwan in recent times.

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and Party Whip Ker Chien-ming state that the DPP will review the proposed FEPZ bill to establish free trade zones in Taiwan. These comments come in response to calls from civil society activity groups to block the FEPZ bill. This review will occur during a special three-day legislative session next week, but it has not been explicitly stated what form this review will take.

Under questioning in Taipei District Court on Wednesday, Premier Jiang Yi-Huah claims he was asleep during the March 24th attempt to occupy the Executive Yuan during the Sunflower movement earlier this year. This came under scrutiny on the basis of that on March 26th, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan was asked on the 26th whether it was Jiang who ordered the police crackdown which ensued subsequent to the occupation attempt. Jiang stated also stated on the 27th that he had been awake watching television to keep track of ongoing events the night of the 24th. DPP politicians including Wellington Koo, Lee Chun-yi, and Huang Di-ying accused Jiang of lying. Jiang was questioned as part of a series of legal proceedings in which 23 Sunflower movement protestors injured during the Executive Yuan incident pressed charges against Jiang and a number of police officials. Though the proceedings were not open to the public, Wednesday saw protest outside of Taipei District Court.