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News & Events
In this section you will find current news and events from ITS and other organizations.

238 articles in total 
Taiwan Ranked 42nd in 2018 World Press Freedom Index


The Reporters Without Boarders (RSF) released “Press freedom ranking 2018” on April 25, 2018.  The Paris-based organization, the media watchdog nonprofit, surveyed 180 countries. Taiwan ranked 42nd and was considered the best in Asia. The top ten positions of the 2018 index are Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Demark and Costa Rica.   Norway scored 7.63, while Taiwan’s score is 23.36. The United State placed 45th (23.73).  Other Asian countries were ranked poorly (South Korea 43, Japan 67, Hong kong 70, Singapore 151, and China 176).  The degree of freedom is determined by pooling the responses of experts to a questionnaire devised by RSF.   The qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.   The criteria evaluated in the questionnaire are: pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.  The RSF’s report indicated that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries.  China is getting closer and closer to a contemporary version of totalitarianism.  During President Xi’s first term, censorship and surveillance reached unprecedented levels thanks to the massive use of new technology.   China still exerted economic and political pressure to influence Taiwanese media.  Fortunately, Taiwan resisted China’s growing influence and was able to move up.



Post: 2018-05-03
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Taiwan Ranked 26th in World Happiness Report 2018

Taiwan was ranked as the world’s 26th happiest nation and the happiest in East Asia per “World Happiness Report 2018”, released by Sustainable Development Solution Network-a global initiative launched by the UN in 2012- on March 14, 2018.  This year, the report ranked 156 countries by their happiness levels and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.  The full report showed scores on six categories: GDP per capita, Social support, Healthy life expectancy, Freedom to make life choices, Generosity, and Perceptions of corruption and finally the combined score.  Finland scored 7.632 and is the happiest nation in the world.  Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia held the top ten positions.   Taiwan scored 6.441 and ranked 26th, while the United State scored 6.886 and ranked 18th.  In East Asia, Singapore was ranked 34th, Japan 54th, South Korea 57th, Hong kong 76th, and China 86th.     The evaluation of happiness of immigrants also indicated that all of the top ten countries scored high.  Again Finland was on top, while Taiwan placed 38th.  According to the news released by Sustainable Development Solution Network, 1,000 people in each nation who were asked to rate their lives on a scale of zero for the worst possible life to 10 for the best possible life.    For well-developed countries, the previous report concluded that money doesn’t buy happiness.  It is much easier to improve happiness through social changes.

Post: 2018-04-19
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Taiwan Ranked 29th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017


The Berlin-based Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, published the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 on February 21, 2018.  CPI is an annual ranking of countries based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.  According to the report, Taiwan ranked 29 out of 180 countries surveyed.  New Zealand scored 89 is on top of the list, followed by Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherland, United Kingdom and Germany.  In Asia, Hong Kong ranked 13, Japan 20, South Korea 54, and China 77.  Taiwan scored 63, while the United States scored slightly better 75, but only ranked 16.   This year, the report found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average of score of 43. The report concluded that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption.  The further analysis shows journalists and activities in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out.  Although the report did not address specific developments in Taiwan, it did call on the global community to take five actions to curb corruption.





Post: 2018-04-06
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Taiwan Ranked 20th in 2018 Freedom House Report


According to the recently published Freedom House’s annual report, Taiwan scored high (93 points), up 2 points from last year.  This year, a total of 195 countries were evaluated.  The nation with the highest freedom ranking were Finland, Norway and Sweden. They received an aggregated score of 100, followed by Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Uruguay, Denmark, Portugal and San Marino.  19 countries were ahead of Taiwan, while the United States did not score well (86 points).   In Asia, Japan was on top with score of 96 points,  and China is near the bottom (score 14) of the list.  Each nation’s score is based on two ratings: one for political rights and one for civil liberties.  The freedom status was designated for each country (Free, Partly Free, and Not Free).     The score higher than 70 points is Free, while 30-70 is considered Partly Free and below 30 is Not Free.  Per report, 88 countries stand Free.  The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stands at 58, and a total of 49 countries are deemed not Free.  Of the 195 countries assessed, 45% were rated Free, 30% Partly Free and 25% Not Free.  The free countries represented 39% of the global population.




Post: 2018-04-04
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Taiwan delivered a cool response to Emperor Xi

The big news for China’s 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) was abolishing presidential term limits, thereby enabling current Chinese President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.  This action signaled the beginning of Xi Dynasty, as comments by many political observers.  Taiwan’s media reported the event extensively and generally believed that Xi was in total control of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), central government, and People’s Liberation Army.  Xi might take more aggressive role to handle issues related to Taiwan-China relations.  Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen did not make any official comment.  However, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) did issue the statement “China should think about following the global trend and implement systemic reform that would result in long-term security, democratic, human rights and the rule of law”.  MAC further said “Taiwan’s government would continue to monitor China’s activities, and would carefully evaluate and respond to the situation”.   In addition to abolish presidential term, NPC also added “The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is the most essential characteristic of China’s socialism with Chinese characteristic” to Article 1 of the Chinese constitution.  One week later, NPC re-elected Xi as president and chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission.  Meanwhile, formal CCP Central Commission of Discipline Inspection secretary Wang Qishan was elected as new China’s vice president.  Wang was Xi’s right-hand man.  Xi will begin his second term as president of China soon.  Even though the second term will end in 2023, it was speculated that Xi will remain in power and rule China indefinitely.    As a result, Xi will be more powerful than Chairman Mao, the founder of PRC.  After the election, MAC expressed hope that Chinese President Xi could join hands with the Taiwanese government in facilitating a new pattern of amicable cross-strait exchanges.

Post: 2018-03-28
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A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Hualien and caused heavy damage and causality

Eastern Taiwan was rocked by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake at 11:50pm on February 6, 2018.  The Central Weather Bureau said the quake’s epicenter was 18.3km northeast of Hualien, at a depth of 10km.  The US Geological Survey measures the quake’s magnitude at 6.4, and said it was the result of oblique strike-slip faulting at shallow depth near the plate boundary between the Philippine Sea and Eurasia plates in Taiwan’s northeast coast.   The bureau data showed that over hundred aftershocks were recorded, including 4 that were over 5.0 magnitude.  Several high-rise buildings along a nearby fault were especially struck hard. Four buildings had collapsed or tilted: one hotel, one commercial and residential building and two apartment buildings.  The Marshal Hotel was collapsed, while Yun Men Tsui Ti was collapsed and titled 40 degree.  Immediately after the quake, it was estimated that several thousand households were without water and hundred households left without electricity.   The rescue operations were launched to rescue people entrapped in the buildings.  As of February 10, at least 16 people were killed, and 285 people were injured.  Two hours after temblor, President Tsai Ing-wen held an emergency meeting with her staffs and next morning Tsai flew to Hualien to survey the rescue operations and damaged buildings.  This earthquake was the largest in Hualien since 1972.  A total of 63 countries expressed a willingness to provide relief of sending rescue teams to Taiwan.  The Ministry of Foreign affairs expressed its heartfelt appreciation on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan to the countries and international organizations that conveyed their concern, condolences and offered assistance following the earthquake. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a letter to President Tsai, including a heartwarming gesture of writing “Taiwan go” in Chinese calligraphy. 

Post: 2018-02-18
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Institute for Taiwanese Studies (ITS) is pleased to host Ian Easton’s speech event --“The Chinese threat of military attacking Taiwan”



Institute for Taiwanese Studies will host a speech event, featuring Ian Easton, author of “The Chinese Invasion threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy”, at Great Los Angeles Taiwan Center on February 10, 2018.  The book was published last fall and received wide attentions from Taiwan and academic world in the United States.  Mr. Easton is the research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute.  His research focus is defense and security in Asia.  His 389-page book has eight important subjects: Why invade Taiwan? An evolving flashpoint, Warning signs, China’s war plan, Planning problems, How Taiwan would fight, American strategy in Asia, and What lies ahead?  In his speech, Easton most likely will answer the following frequently ask questions: 1. What is your book about? 2. What inspired you to write this book? 3. You draw heavily from leaked Chinese military documents. How did you get them? 4. What surprised you the most in reading internal PLA documents? 5. What do you think Chinese military officers will think of the book? 6. What do you think Taiwanese military officers will think of the book? 7. Did writing the book make you more or less worried about the possibility of a war in the Taiwan Strait? 8. Some former government officials have argued that the United States should explicitly guarantee Taiwan’s security.  Do you think Washington should have a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, like it does with all Taiwan’s democratic neighbors (Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Australia, etc.)?

Post: 2018-01-22
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13 Taiwan’s technology companies are selected as world’s top 100 leading technology companies

Thomson Reuters unveiled the world’s 100 leading technology companies in its inaugural top 100 global technology leaders listing.  According to the news release, the top ten of the 100 global technology leaders are: Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Alphabet, Apple, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, SAP, Texas Instruments and Accenture.   Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) is placed 7 and it is the only Taiwan company in the top ten list.   TSM is ahead of SAP (Germany) and Accenture (Ireland), and the rest on the top ten list are from US.   Taiwan’s companies on the list are: Nanya Technology, Acer, ASE Group, ASUS, Lite-on Technology, Pegatron Corp., Powertech Technology Inc., Qisda Corporation, Quanta Computer, Siliconware precision Industries, TSMC, United Microelectronics Corp., and Wistron Corporation.  The United States led the number of companies (45) in the list, followed by Japan (13), Taiwan (13), India (5), France (3), China (3), and Korea (3).  The assessment of leading tech companies were based on 28-data-point algorithm to objectively identify organizations with the fortitude for the future in today’s complex business environment.  The methodology measures performance across eight pillars: Financial, Management and investor Confidence, Risk and Resilie3nce, legal compliance, Innovation, People and social Responsibility, Environmental Impact, and Reputation.

Post: 2018-01-21
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Taiwan denounced China’s unilateral decision to launch four new air routes

On January 4, China informed Taiwan about the activation of four air routes; M503, W121, W122, and W123.  China’s action was a clear violation of previous agreement between China and Ma administration in 2015.  The negotiation between civil aviation officials from both sides reached agreements that only southbound flights would be permitted on route 503 and that the three extension routs would not be activated until after further negotiations had been completed.  These aviation routes are very close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait.  Using these routes would affect Taiwan’s air defense and aviation safety.  As a matter of fact, China’s action is a violation of “status quote”.  Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen called on China to uphold the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.  She said “China’s unilateral using new routes and increased military exercises are destabilizing to cross-strait relations and undermine regional stability”.    In response to the media, a U.S. State Department official expressed its concern about new flight routes.   American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokeswoman said “We are concerned about reports that Beijing has modified the use of civil aviation flight routes in the Taiwan Strait without consultation with Taiwan authorities.   We encourage authorities in Beijing and Taipei to engage in constructive dialogue, on the basis of dignity and respect”.    In the meantime, President Tsai held a meeting with the members of National Security Council to discuss the effects of China’s decision to open the new routes.  The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Katharine Chang said “China must be held accountable for any serious consequences that would affect the cross-strait relations should it continue to allow the flights to operate”.    The lawmakers in Legislative Yuan denounced China’s unilateral decision to launch four new routes, saying that the move blithely disregarded aviation safety and would not help to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait.   According to Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Authorities (CAA), four airlines (Hong Kong Airlines Ltd., Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp and XianmenAir were continuously using new routes, despite the warning.


Post: 2018-01-10
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Taiwan ranked 23rd in the global talent ranking 2017


According to the recently published IMD World Talent Ranking (WTR), Taiwan was placed 23rd in the ranking, unchanged from last year.  Since 2013, International Institute for Management Development (IMD), has published annual survey on global talent.  The IMD assesses the status and the development of competencies necessary for enterprises and the economy to achieve long term value creation. A total of 63 economies were evaluated.  This year’s top ten are: Switzerland, Demark, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Luxemburg.   And the United States ranked 16 behind Hong Kong (12th) and Singapore (13th). Taiwan was ahead of Japan (31th), South Korea (39th) and China (40th).  IMD defines talent competitiveness into three main factors: Investment and development; appeal; and readiness.  These three factors comprise 30 criteria (hard data, 12 criteria; survey data, 18 criteria).  Taiwan achieved above-average ranking in all three factors (investment & development 25; appeal 26; and readiness 22).  5 criteria showed overall top strengths are: employee training, effective personal income tax rate, science in school, student mobility inbound, and educational assessment-PISA.    5 criteria showed overall top weaknesses are: total public expenditure on education, pupil-teacher ratio (secondary education), cost of living index, brain drain, and foreign highly-skilled personnel.   Even though the survey showed that Taiwan needs improvement in many areas, it is still far better than two powerful neighboring countries: Japan and Korea. 





Post: 2018-01-05
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