Bridge Collapse in Eastern Taiwan
The Nanfang’ao Bridge, a suspension bridge in Yilan County on Taiwan’s northeast coast, collapsed on October 1, killing six Indonesian and Filipino migrant fisherman stationed aboard boats berthed under the bridge. The collapse – thought to be the result of corrosion of the suspension cables – also injured several other foreign laborers and the driver of an oil tanker truck that was exiting the bridge.
The bridge, which was completed in 1998, is the only steel single-arch bridge in Taiwan. According to the Taiwan International Ports Corp., it performed routine annual maintenance on the bridge and inspections were carried out every four years, most recently in 2016 by the Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology. Critics, however, have questioned whether the inspections were evaluated by an independent third party, which is supposed to be standard procedure.
The collapse and its aftermath have also shed light on the conditions of migrant fisherman in Taiwan. The victims had been housed in extremely cramped conditions on the boats they were working on. In addition, the temporary housing provided to the survivors was deemed inadequate, with some sleeping on top of cardboard placed on the floor.
Taiwan Baseball Team Takes Home Gold
Taiwan’s national baseball team made history at this year’s Asian Baseball Championship, winning the gold medal for the first time since the competition began in 1983. The Taiwan team beat Japan 5-4 in the final game, held at the Taichung International Baseball Stadium. Also for the first time, both Taiwan and China, the bronze medal winner, qualified to compete in the Olympic Final Qualifying Tournament next year, along with silver medal winner Japan.
Large LGBT Pride Parade Held in Taipei
Over 200,000 participants, a record-breaking number, marched in Taipei’s 17th annual LGBT Pride Parade on October 23. Attendees came from around the globe, and over 200 teams of participants joined the march, including representatives of around 30 corporations.
The theme of this year’s parade – the first Pride event to be held since Taiwan became the first country in East Asia to adopt marriage equality – was calling on Taiwan to further embrace LGBT members of society. Event organizers and representatives of local LGBT organizations noted that there are still many barriers to full equality for sexual minorities in Taiwan, such as recognizing the marriage of certain transnational gay and lesbian couples.