Stories written by Dennis Engbarth
Dennis Engbarth writes for IPS on Taiwan affairs, including politics, human rights, culture and environmental issues.

DEATH PENALTY: Urgent Appeal for Fair Trials

Senior representatives of Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network have urged the Taiwan government to "uphold fairness and justice" in its judicial system and resume a broken moratorium on use of the death penalty.

Devastation from the Mar. 11 tsunami swept through Yotukura fishing village. Credit: Suvendrini Kakuchi/IPS

JAPAN: Training Volunteers to Deal With Disasters

Seven months after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, Japanese citizens and relief organisations are working to learn from the tragedy in order to mitigate the fatal impact of future natural calamities at home and abroad.

TAIWAN: Wrong Execution May Not End the Death Penalty

A Taiwan military tribunal has confirmed that the late Air Force private Chiang Kuo-ching had been wrongfully executed in August 1997 for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl. But campaigners against the death penalty doubt that this will restore the moratorium on capital punishment the Taiwan government broke in April last year.

Chiang Wang Tsai-lien holding a photography of her son, late Air Force private Chiang Kuo-ching. Credit: Judicial Reform Foundation.

TAIWAN: No Indictment Over Wrongful Execution

Taiwan prosecutors certified that Air Force private Chiang Kuo-ching had been wrongfully executed in August 1997 for the rape-murder of a five-year-old-girl at an air force headquarters compound in Taipei, but failed to indict any of the nine military officers responsible for extracting his "confession" through torture.

Taiwanese Ponder Democracy Deficit

A coalition of Taiwan social activists has warned that the island country's democracy is now in a state of ''stagnation'' after three years of government under the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Tsai Ing-wen with party rivals in the DPP nomination primary. Credit: Dennis Engbarth/IPS.

TAIWAN: East Asia May Get its First Woman President

Taiwan may become the first country in East Asia with a female head of state if opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen wins the island country’s fifth presidential election next Jan. 14.

Over 2,000 protestors participated in a "We Love Taiwan, We Don

TAIWAN: Opposition Urges Nuclear Phase-out By 2025

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman and former Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen have announced a proposal for a "2025 Non-Nuclear Home Plan" that would allow Taiwan to eliminate reliance on nuclear power by the end of 2025.

Maanshan nuclear power plant from Kenting beach in southern Taiwan. Credit: M. Weitzel

TAIWAN: Public Demands Safety Review of New Reactor

The unfolding disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has reignited debate over Taiwan’s own nuclear power programme and the controversy over continuing construction of a fourth nuclear facility here.

TAIWAN: Wrongful Execution Reopens Death Penalty Debate

Revelations that an Air Force private had apparently been wrongfully executed 15 years ago for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl have reopened the debate over Taiwan’s retention of the death penalty.

TAIWAN: Media Fights Propaganda Masked as News

A coalition of journalist and civic organizations is waging a campaign to rid the Taiwan media of government propaganda masquerading as news, and signs are that the campaign has taken "the first steps" towards victory.

TAIWAN: Debate Far from Over On Decriminalisation of Sex Trade

The Taiwanese government’s plans to partially decriminalise the sex trade has revived deep divisions within society, including between advocacy groups who stress the need for equal treatment and ‘autonomy’ for sex workers and those worried about the impact of such a move on human trafficking and child prostitution.

TAIWAN: Activists Seek More Safeguards in Accords with China

Activists here are calling for the use of democratic mechanisms and enhanced transparency to "hedge" risks posed to Taiwan by a series of agreements negotiated between Taipei and Beijing.

TAIWAN: Activists Turn to Film as Weapon against Death Penalty

"We never want to see anyone else in Taiwan become a second Lu Cheng," declared Lu Ching, referring to her younger brother whom she believes was wrongfully executed in September 2000 after being forced to confess to a kidnap-murder.

TAIWAN: Draft Laws Bring Removal of Death Penalty Closer

The abolition of the death penalty in Taiwan is not yet around the corner, but draft legislation that seeks to plug some of the law's weaknesses marks no small step in the government's efforts to get it out of the statute books eventually.

POLITICS-TAIWAN: Protests up as Gov’t Reverses Halt to Nuke Project

Activists are stepping up protests after Taiwan's government bowed to pressure from conservatives and announced Wednesday the resumption of budgets for a 6.5 billion U.S. dollar nuclear power plant -- one that has been a political and environmental controversy for more than two decades.

POLITICS-TAIWAN: Nuke Plant Row Becomes Political Fight

What began as tussle over a nuclear power project has become a fight for survival by Taiwan's centre-left led government, whose victory five months ago marked the first change in the island's political rulers in more than five decades.

TAIWAN: Pro-independence Leader Sets Eyes on 2000 Election

"We will ensure that your sacrifice was not in vain," reads the inscription on a memorial to the mother and twin daughters of dissident Lin I-hsiung, the new chairman of Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

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