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

TAIWAN: Polls Harken End of Nuclear Power

Taiwan may soon be the first nation in Asia to resolve to become a nuclear free nation after four decades of reliance on nuclear power.

Taiwanese Activists Push for Citizen-Based Constitution

“The clock is ticking.” Those were the words of Taiwan Democracy Watch Director Yeh Chueh-an on Feb. 4, as scores of civil society organisations in the capital, Taipei, began a countdown for a citizen-based rewriting of Taiwan’s constitution aimed at safeguarding human rights and social equity.

Free Economic Zone Plan Slammed as ‘Suicide’ Pact for Taiwan Farmers

The Taiwan government’s plan to liberalise tariff-free imports of agricultural produce from China and other countries for processing in free economic pilot zones, which will then be exported as ‘Made in Taiwan’ items, may mean suicide for Taiwanese farmers if approved by the national legislature.

Rights Experts Urge Action on Gender Equality in Taiwan

Prominent international human rights experts are calling on the Taiwan government to quickly enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, revamp the law on citizenship and take a wide range of other actions to curb gender discrimination.

Taiwanese Saved a Little From Wiretapping

Taiwan’s national legislature has taken a small but important step to curb rampant government surveillance of citizens and politicians through revisions of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act and the criminal code.

Land Cleared for Reforms in Taiwan

The Taiwan farmers victory in a landmark court case in a years-long battle has delivered a shock to government officials and given a morale boost to citizen campaigns.

Taiwan Lawmakers Push `Marriage Equality` Bill

Taiwan could become the first Asian state to legalise same-sex and other ``pluralistic`` forms of marriage if a wide-ranging package of changes to the civil code are approved by the national legislature.

China Trade Deal Raises Hackles in Taiwan

A broad coalition of Taiwanese labour, human rights and other civil society organisations are campaigning to block legislative ratification of the controversial Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement signed Jun. 21 by representatives of Taiwan and China.

Civil Society Members Replace UN in Taiwan Review

The just-completed review of Taiwan’s initial state human rights report offers a new model featuring direct involvement by civil society organisations in examining compliance with international rights covenants.

Executions Elicit Fears of Authoritarianism

Taiwanese activists and human rights advocates ushered in the New Year with a push to prevent a return to authoritarianism and defend procedural justice for death row prisoners in the wake of six executions just before Christmas.

Media Giant Advances on Taiwan

Taiwan civic reform, journalist and labour organisations have mobilised against the acquisition of the large Next Media (Taiwan) group by tycoons linked with China. They say this threatens Taiwan’s news freedom and even the survival of its democratic political system.

Taiwan Verdict Exposes Death Penalty Dangers

The end of Taiwan’s most controversial death penalty case this week has “punctured the myth that the judicial system never makes mistakes in death penalty cases,” Judicial Reform Foundation (JRF) executive director Lin Feng-cheng told IPS.

Taiwanese Officials Get Away With Murder, Legally

Human rights activists warn that Taiwan government prosecutors have sent a message that torture is permissible by refusing to indict a former defence minister and eight other former military officers behind the wrongful execution of a young Air Force private by torturing him into confessing rape and murder.

‘Armed Youth’ to Rock Rio

Environmental and community activists from Taiwan will enliven the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, dubbed Rio+20, and the parallel People’s Summit, with one of the island’s most prominent social protest music groups, the Village Armed Youth Band.

Report Exposes Holes in Taiwan’s Human Rights Record

Earlier this week a coalition of rights organisations issued a ‘shadow report’ on Taiwan’s compliance with two international human rights covenants, which it incorporated into domestic law in 2009, probing the country’s track record on human rights.

Journalism is Not ‘More Fun’ in the Philippines

Reporters working in the Philippines, the world’s third most dangerous nation for journalists, are having difficulty identifying with the "It’s More Fun in the Philippines" tourism promotion campaign launched by the Liberal Party-led government of President Benigno Aquino III.

Unions Urge Development Bank To “Walk the Talk” on Labour Rights

The exclusion of certified labour union delegates from the official opening ceremony of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) meeting here on May 4 revealed a wide gap between the Manila-based development bank’s promises and practices on labour rights.

Activists for Taiwan’s National Food Safety Alliance call for a ban on ractopamine-laced U.S. beef.  Credit: Dennis Engbarth/IPS.

American Beef on the Political Grill

Taiwanese civic activists and opposition parties are persisting in efforts to block imports of high-risk American beef even though the ruling rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) legislative majority narrowly defeated a push by opposition legislators Apr. 27 to suspend imports of American beef products.

Taiwanese Activists Cold to Human Rights Claims

The first official national human rights report issued by Taiwan’s rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) government disappointed civil society and human rights advocates, who have described the document as "an empty shell" and "insincere".

A Taiwanese woman protests outside the national legislature against a decision to ‘conditionally deregulate’ import of ractopamine-laced U.S. beef. Credit: Dennis Engbarth/IPS.

Taiwan Beefs Up to Take On the U.S.

Taiwan civic activists and opposition parties have launched efforts to block plans by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) government to "conditionally deregulate" the import of United States-produced beef containing residues of ractopamine, a controversial "growth enhancing" chemical used in cattle feed.

TAIWAN: Poll Will Decide Nuclear Plant’s Fate

Voters in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and national legislative elections will also decide the fate of a bitterly controversial 9.3 billion dollar nuclear power plant.

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