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Taiwan to send delegation to the UN Climate Change COP22 summit

The COP22 will be held at Marrakesh city in Morocco, from November 7 to 18


October 4, 2016: Taiwan will send its delegation to the UN Climate Change COP22 summit, slated to begin in November, and will engage with international organisations despite continued opposition from China, an official said on Monday.

The COP22 will be held at Marrakesh city in Morocco, from November 7 to 18.

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After being excluded from the triennial meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in Montreal, Canada, Taiwan will send a delegation from the Industrial Technology Research Institute, as a non-profit organisation, Taiwanese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The unofficial representative from Taiwan has been excluded from participating in summit-related activities, due to Chinese pressure, officials alleged on condition of anonymity, Efe news reported.

Taiwan seeks to participate as an observer in the meeting, but due to Chinese opposition and deterioration of its ties with Beijing, since pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party chief Tsai Ing-wen became President of Taiwan there has been no progress in Taiwan’s inclusion in the summit, despite support from the US and other countries.

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The island has been excluded from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meeting which started on September 27 due to opposition from China, which demands that Taiwan accept the 1992 consensus and recognise itself as part of China.

Taiwan was invited to the previous ICAO triennial meeting in 2013 when its ties with Beijing were better with then-President Ma Ying-jeou accepting the 1992 consensus of ‘One-China, Two interpretations’ principle.

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Tsai, during an academic event held on Saturday, said the island will not waver in its goal of expanding its international presence, despite the difficulties presented by China.(IANS)


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Taiwan’s Parliament Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, Mass Weddings Planned

Parliament approved Asia’s first bill Friday to legalize same-sex marriage along with a suite of legal protections

“We pay our taxes, we are governed by the same laws, why should we not be afforded the same rights in marriage”, says UK. VOA

Hsu Pei-chieh and her partner Yang Hsun are tired of trying to explain their relationship to everyone else. They’re going steady and share everything down to a parking pass. Hsu, 30, and Yang, 29, want to tell the outside world they’re spouses because they already call each other “wife.”

People will get it if the couple can give their relationship a “name,” said Hsu, a Taipei office worker.

The pair has also worked with Taiwan’s 20-year-old LGBT movement, which is unusually vibrant for Asia because of free speech protections and lack of a strong organized religion. Thanks to that movement, parliament approved Asia’s first bill Friday to legalize same-sex marriage along with a suite of legal protections, such as insurance and inheritance benefits.

“Today, with the passage of the law, I believe it’s got major significance for gender equality and even for the values of broader diversity,” said Hung Ya-li, deputy head of the Taiwan-based Garden of Hope Foundation’s civic dialogue office. “It wasn’t easy to get here.”

taiwan, legalizes, same sex, marriages
Gay rights supporters wait for the results under the rain outside Parliament while lawmakers discuss the same-sex marriage bill in Taipei, May 17, 2019. VOA

Hsu and Yang expect marriage to qualify them for joint travel insurance, faster tax filing and the rights to raise children together. They’re talking about one child, maybe two.

“The two of us haven’t actually run into any huge issues, but when little things come up, they can be troubling,” Hsu said. “It takes a lot of effort and energy to handle the accumulation of things that come up living together.”

First in Asia

Religion, conservative family values and political systems that discourage LGBT activism have stopped momentum in Asian countries from China through much of Southeast Asia into the Middle East. In China particularly, restrictions on assembly and media coverage have stopped the 100 LBGT groups from getting the word out.

Taiwan’s movement meanwhile has spawned annual Gay Pride parades of up to 80,000 people. Thousands stood in the rain outside Taiwan’s parliament Friday to prod legislators into passing the bill.

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Legislators were already facing a deadline from a 2017 Constitutional Court order that required parliament to change laws to legalize same-sex marriage before May 24.

Taiwan joins 27 others

Taiwan will stand out now for its tolerance of LGBT couples, scholars on the island believe.

“If these kinds of people can be more visible, happening in our everyday life, I think that will be quite good,” said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.

“I think the law change is the basic infrastructure that we have already pushed forward, which I believe is quite positive for democracy in Taiwan,” he said.

taiwan, legalizes, same sex, marriages
Same-sex marriage supporters shout during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, May 17, 2019. VOA

Worldwide, Taiwan joins 27 countries in legalizing same-sex marriage.

At least 20 same-sex couples are planning a mass marriage registration in Taipei on May 24, a spokesman for the advocacy group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan said earlier in the month. About 1,200 newlyweds and their invitees will hold a mass party a day later on a blocked-off boulevard outside the presidential office, the event organizer said.

Jay Lin, 45, is one who plans to marry — once his child care obligations allow him the time. He and his partner in Taipei are raising two boys who will turn 3 in June.

“It’s definitely something we’re planning to do,” said Lin, a Taipei-based online streaming service founder. “A lot of gay parents are excited about that already.”

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Opposition votes

The court order of 2017 also brought out Taiwan’s more conservative side, including Christian groups and backers of the traditional Chinese family headed by one man and one woman. They had protested in the streets and lobbied lawmakers, who face re-election next year, to block same-sex marriage.

“Catholicism’s definition of marriage is one man, one woman,” said Chen Ke, a Catholic pastor in Taiwan and an opponent of same-sex marriage. “Nothing else is marriage. We will respect the law, but it’s not our religion.”

Opinion surveys in 2012 and 2015 found that slight majorities of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage, but local media outlet The News Lens and PollcracyLab found in a March 2018 survey that people held “malleable” views based on how the term “legalization” was framed.

In November last year, voters passed a referendum in support of male-female marriages only. Legislators since then have fretted about which side to back.

taiwan, legalizes, same sex, marriages
Same-sex marriage supporters hold roses to mourn those who committed suicide because of discrimination during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, May 17, 2019. VOA

“I don’t think (parliament) wants to touch this,” said Joanna Lei, CEO of the Chunghua 21st Century Think Tank. “They would just wash their hands of it. Wherever you are, you may be pleasing 50 percent of the people.”

But most legislators who spoke Friday advocated some measure of protection for same-sex couples. (VOA)