Referendums in Taiwan Shape Equity of Genders and Future of “Chinese Taipei”

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On Nov. 24, the Taiwanese people executed ten referendums during nine local elections. In general, the results of referendums reflect the political concerns toward protection of human rights and reformation still existing among the majority of population.

Half of the ten referendums were about the rights of genders. More than 3.3 millions votes supported revising the current definition of marriage to protect same-sex couples, and over 3.5 millions agreed to the compulsory education of gender equity. They were, however, still insufficient to overcome the twice number of opposite ones. These questions will create influences in the basic education and the Civil Code. As the highest court has ruled in 2017 that banning same-sex marriage is inconsitutional and therefore granted the parliament two years to protect the right, the condition of same-sex marriage should meet the resolution by next year while amending the Civil Code now becomes less possible.

One of the questions focused on whether “Taiwan” or “Chinese Taipei” should be used on 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The outcome reveals the concern about losing the chance to participate the 2020 Olympics under the name “Taiwan”, although the 4.7 million assent votes have created the smallest gap to that of the opposite, compared to the other two vetoed questions. It was likely due to the interpretation by the Chinese Taipei Olympics Committee (CTOC) about the the recent letters from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the behaviors of foreign politicians. Furthermore, the East Asian Youth Games revoked on an impromptu meeting at the request of People’s Republic of China (PRC) might also load pressure on the voters. On the other hand, the rejection against the agricultural import from the regions near the Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, where the nuclear disaster and tsunami happened in March 2011, gained more assent votes than the dissent ones and is to be adopted.

The highest assent rate was reached by the referendum asking the electorates to consider the reduction of coal-firing pants. The fossil fuels power, more specifically the coal-fired plants, will gain more restrictions, compared to the nuclear power.

According to the Referendum Act, a referendum is adopted only when it meets two criteria: (1) it gains more assent votes than dissent votes and (2) its number of valid ballots of assent is higher than a quarter of the number of eligible voters. Below listed the outcomes released by the Central Election Commission. The data include the result, the valid ballots of assent divided by the number of eligible voters, and the main text of each each questions:

  • About the gender equity
    • (Case 10) Adopted; 38.76%; Do you agree that marriage defined in The Civil Code should be restricted to the union between one man and one woman?
    • (Case 11) Adopted; 35.85%; Do you agree that the Ministry of Education should not implement the Enforcement Rules for Gender Equity Education Act in elementary and middle schools?
    • (Case 12) Adopted; 32.4%; Do you agree to the protection of the rights of same-sex couples in co-habitation on a permanent basis in ways other than changing of the Civil Code?
    • (Case 14) Vetoed; 17.12%; Do you agree to the protection of same-sex marital rights with marriage as defined in the Civil Code?
    • (Case 15) Vetoed; 17.75%; Do you agree in accordance with “Gender Equality Education Act” that national education of all levels should educate students on the importance of gender equality, emotional education, sex education, same-sex education?
  • About the international affairs
    • (Case 9) Adopted; 39.44%; Do you agree that the government should maintain the prohibition of agricultural imports and food from areas affected by the Fukushima March 11th Disaster? Specifically, those from Fukushima proper and the 4 surrounding districts and cities of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, and Chiba?
    • (Case 13) Vetoed; 24.11%; Do you agree to the use of “Taiwan” when participating in all international sport competitions, including the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
  • About the energy policy
    • (Case 7) Adopted; 40.27%; Do you agree “To reduce by 1% year by year” the production of Coal-Firing Thermal Power Plants?
    • (Case 8) Adopted; 38.46%; Do you agree to the establishment of an energy policy to “Stop construction and expansion of any Coal-Firing Thermal Power Plants or generator units (including the Shen Ao Power Plant currently under construction)”?
    • (Case 16) Adopted; 29.84%; Do you agree to repeal Article 95 paragraph 1 of The Electricity Act: “The nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025”?

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