Taiwan: anti-nuke action gets the goods

As thousands of protesters blocked a main traffic artery in Taipei and clashed with police sent to clear them, Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang party agreed April 28 to halt work on two nuclear reactors. Work on the Lungmen nuclear plant, which would be Taiwan's fourth, started more than a decade ago in the island's northeast, about 20 miles outside Taipei, but has met growing opposition since the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The No. 1 reactor at Lungmen is to be sealed, while work on the No. 2 reactor will be put on hold, Premier Jiang Yi-huah said. The decision was made following negotiations with opposition parties. Jiang added that the announcement does not represent a major change in the government's energy policy, and refused to say that the Lungmen project has been permanently abandoned. (BBC News, Radio AustraliaTaiwan Today, NYT's Sinosphere blog, April 28)

Taipei protesters block commuter line

Amazing. Taiwan's China Post reports that commuters in the Taipei suburb of Hualien—joined by a candidate for county councilor—blocked the rail lines in response to tourists squeezing out local residents, with agencies buying tickets en masse. And this is presumably the middle class. How come New Yorkers will never, ever do that in response to incessant fare hikes and routine humiliation at the hands of the MTA? Just asking.

Taipei mayor sets good example... for China

Taipei's new mayor Ko Wen-je is provoking a buzz on social media after he was photographed taking the subway to work. One Facebook user quipped that Ko (an independent populist) commutes with a "BMW—Bicycle, MRT [mass rapid transit] train, and Walking." More common are nods of approval: 'The mayor is so close to the people." The buzz has spread to mainland China, where one typical comment on Weibo reads: "See this? If Chinese people also had the right to vote, mayors would receive the same treatment, with no privileged car, no crowd following them everywhere, no flashbulbs... nothing." (CNN, Jan. 7)

Taiwan giving the "People's Republic" (sic) a lesson in egalitarianism. A nice little historical irony, for those of us with long memories.

Taiwan to shut all nuclear reactors by May 2025

Taiwan's government has decided to stick to its policy of phasing out nuclear power by May 2025 despite the outcome of a referendum that calls for a review of the plan. The result of the referendum held last November requires repeal of a legal article that calls for all six nuclear reactors on the island to be shut down by 2025. The provision was established after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. But the government said Jan. 31 that it decided continuing to operate five of the reactors beyond May 2025 would be impossible. Another reactor has already gone out of operation. The government cited factors such as resistance from local governments of areas where the reactors are located. (NHK)