Sing! China Event Ends in Violence
A singing event staged at National Taiwan University (NTU) in cooperation with the Taipei City and Shanghai governments and the popular Chinese talent show Sing! China was abruptly cut short as protests degenerated into violence on September 25. The protests were sparked by anger over damage to NTU’s track and other sports facilities, although many students were also upset that the organizers referred to the institution as “Taipei Municipal Taiwan University.” Pro-independence student demonstrators were confronted by members of the China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) founded by Bamboo Union gang godfather Chang An-lo, also known as the White Wolf. The confrontations led to violence, with CUPP members caught on video attacking the protesters with bats and batons. Taipei City police also came under fire after it was revealed that despite numerous calls requesting police intervention, no police arrived at the scene for at least three hours.
Kuomintang Blocks Seizure of Assets
Government efforts to seize real estate in Taipei’s Songshan District owned by the Kuomintang (KMT) were blocked by protestors organized by KMT members of the Taipei City Council on September 27. The Ministry of Justice’s Administrative Enforcement Agency attempted to seize the building in payment of a NT$864.8 million (US$28.5 million) fine that the KMT had failed to pay. The fine was levied in response to the party’s sale of 450 properties that the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee deemed to have been illegally obtained. Two other KMT-owned buildings were seized in actions taken later that day.
Taiwanese Activist Put on Trial in China
Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, who was seized in China on March 19, was convicted in a televised trial on September 11. He was found guilty of establishing “an organization aimed at subverting state power and overturning the country’s fundamental political system…through instant messaging services,” attempting “to overturn state power and the socialist system through unscrupulous distortion of the facts,” and “fanning public hostility against the government and its system,” according to China’s official Xinhua news agency. Lee’s court-appointed defense attorneys called no witnesses during the four-hour trial, at which Lee “confessed” to his crimes and promised to work towards unification of Taiwan with China. As of press time, Lee was awaiting sentencing.
Five Taiwanese Dead in Mexican Quake
Five Taiwanese citizens were confirmed killed in the September 20 earthquake that devastated Mexico City. All of them were in the same office building in downtown Mexico City that collapsed in the 7.1 Richter scale earthquake, which killed a total of 363 people in the capital city and its surroundings. Four of the five Taiwanese victims were relatives of a businessman who ran a shoe company in the same building.
Duterte Says Taiwan is Major Drug Source
The Philippines’ fire-brand President Rodrigo Duterte on September 20 labeled Taiwan’s Bamboo Union mafia for being a major source for drugs in his country, going so far as to describe the Philippines as a “client state” of the gang. Duterte alleged that many drugs, especially methamphetamine, are produced on ships on the high seas by associates of the gang as well as the Hong Kong triad 14K. He cited empty waste drums found floating in the seas near that Philippines that contained traces of drugs and were marked with Chinese characters.
Duterte is notorious for leading a campaign to eradicate drugs from the country through extra-legal killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila responded that Taiwan is an anti-drug-trafficking partner of the Philippines, while other Taiwan government agencies said there is no evidence tying the Bamboo Union to the drug trade in the Philippines and that Hong Kong is the source for three-quarters of the illegal drugs in Taiwan.