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Asia’s skyscraper supremacy

BANGKOK — For all the hype surrounding the Freedom Tower, it won't even crack the world's top 10 tallest buildings. Sorry, America. Asia's winning this one. 

China v. Taiwan at the Venice film festival

Score one for China in the perennial China v. Taiwan name game.
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Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng at the Asian Film Awards 2009 in Hong Kong on March 23, 2009. (Victor Fraile/AFP/Getty Images)

Way to pour salt on festering wounds, Venice film festival.

The Venice International Film Festival, which opens today, changed the designation of the origin of a Taiwanese movie, "Seediq Bale," from “China, Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei,” in line with the Olympic model.

Not cool, according to Taiwan, which is still technically in a state of hostilities with China — assuming the two are willing to even acknowledge one another's existence.

GlobalPost in Taipei: What cross-strait thaw between China and Taiwan?

The Taipei Times:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman James Chang (章計平) said the designation change, which came after Taipei protested to the festival’s organizers, was unsatisfactory.

“We are not satisfied with the change and want it [the film] to be labeled under either the official name of the country — ‘Republic of China’ — or ‘Taiwan,’” he said.

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Taiwan hospital transplants HIV-infected organs into patients

Doctors told VOA the patients will probably contract the disease.

Taiwan: extreme typhoon surfing

TAIPEI — Despite the intensity of storms this time of year, surfers say conditions are safe enough if you know what you're doing.

Taiwan food critic jailed for criticizing food

Liu wrote that her noodles were "salty." A grave offense in Taiwan.
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A Chinese woman wolfs down her noodles in Hong Kong. (Samantha Sin/AFP/Getty Images)

Last night, while dining out with a friend, I ordered the carrot ginger soup.

No wait, there's more.

It was too salty, and I said so. Out loud to my friend.

Little did I know I could have been sent to jail ...

... if I lived in Taiwan.

On Tuesday, a Taiwanese blogger with the surname Liu, wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were "too salty." As a result, she was sentenced to 30 days detention and two years of probation.

Harsh.

Adding "salt" to the wound, Liu was also ordered to pay $7,000 (NT$200,000) in compensation to the restaurant for loss of revenues due to her blog post, which also called the restaurant unsanitary.

According to the Taipei Times:

After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a “bully” because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.

While Liu's statement about the cockroaches was taken to be a statement of fact, her criticism of the food was deemed unlawful due to the fact that she only tried one dish.

But I mean. Who orders a second dish when the first one was too salty?

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Vietnam flexes muscle in the South China Sea

HANOI — Experts say out-and-out war isn't in Vietnam or China's interest, but more clashes between the two are almost certainly on the horizon.

Taiwan's cabbage under glass

Taipei snubbed Beijing in the wake of a bungled art heist. "No similar crime has ever happened here."
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Jadeite Cabbage with Insects. This piece, which lives at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, is almost completely identical to a piece of bokchoy cabbage. (Courtesy/Wikimedia commons)

Here is what Taiwan, home to the National Palace Museum, had to say about the bungled art heist at the Palace Museum in Beijing this week:

"The National Palace Museum declined Thursday to comment on the Beijing art theft, except to say that no similar crime had ever taken place in Taiwan," as reported in the New York Times.

Oh, snap. And that was Taiwan holding back.

The deal with the two museums is that at the end of the Chinese Civil War, in 1949, the Nationalists took most of the Palace Museum’s best works to Taiwan, where they remain on display.

Beijing has demanded for decades that the pieces be returned. It's a microcosm of the overall tensions between Beijing and Taipei, which explains the latter's response.

What Taiwan meant to say is, "We would never let a similar crime take place here, where we keep our prized jade cabbage and meat stone."

That's right. The bell of the ball at the National Palace Museum is not a crumbling scroll or an enormous painting. It is, in fact, a tiny bok choy cabbage — no larger than a human hand — carved from jade.

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