Hails be­gin­ning of new era

He­len Chang, mag­is­trate of Chi­ayi County Gov­ern­ment, has put all her ef­forts into inau­gu­rat­ing a new era of food safety, ed­u­ca­tion, in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and tourism de­vel­op­ment in the south­west­ern re­gion


In the era of glob­al­iza­tion, cities and coun­ties must be more for­ward think­ing and step out­side of the box. Among other chal­lenges to be ad­dressed by pol­icy ac­tors are to en­sure that the ben­e­fits of glob­al­iza­tion ex­tend to lo­cal peo­ple and to deal with the fear that glob­al­iza­tion leads to food safety is­sues, which is par­tic­u­larly marked in to­day’s Tai­wan. Another chal­lenge is to ad­dress the very real fear in the in­dus­tri­al­ized world that in­creased global com­pe­ti­tion will lead in­ex­orably to an ex­o­dus of pop­u­la­tion to ma­jor ur­ban cen­ters. And fi­nally, glob­al­iza­tion and all of the com­pli­cated prob­lems re­lated to it must not be used as ex­cuses to avoid search­ing for new ways to co­op­er­ate in the over­all in­ter­est of coun­tries and peo­ple.

He­len Chang (張花冠), mag­is­trate of the Chi­ayi County Gov­ern­ment (嘉義縣政府), is fully aware of these chal­lenges and she has put all her ef­forts into es­tab­lish­ing a new era of food safety, ed­u­ca­tion, in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and tourism de­vel­op­ment for res­i­dents liv­ing in the south­west­ern re­gion.

A New Era of Food Safety

Amid the se­ries of food safety in­ci­dents in Tai­wan that came to light in re­cent years, Chang helped Chi­ayi to step out of its frame and em­brace an era of re­fined, safe agri­cul­ture with brand­ing by em­pha­siz­ing “qual­ity” over “quan­tity.” To fur­ther en­tice the sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal farm­ing fam­i­lies, she has pushed for the de­vel­op­ment of a new agri­cul­ture that re­lies on ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy to gen­er­ate higher rev­enue. The mag­is­trate knows for cer­tain that in or­der to have a break­through in the Ja­panese mar­ket, which is one of the most prof­itable in the world, Chi­ayi pro­duc­ers must not only fol­low in­ter­na­tional agri­cul­ture and food reg­u­la­tions, but also con­form to Ja­pan’s strict reg­u­la­tions.

With this ob­ser­va­tion in mind, Chi­ayi County in March signed an MOU (mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing) with the Good Agri­cul­ture Prac­tice stan­dards in Ja­pan and be­came the first county/city here to adopt the Ja­pan Good Agri­cul­ture Prac­tice (J-GAP), a strict reg­u­la­tion that guar­an­tees the qual­ity of lo­cal pro­duce. At the same time, Chi­ayi author­i­ties have com­mit­ted to build­ing Tai­wan's first Food Safety Build­ing (

食安大樓) to pro­vide test­ing to lo­cal pro­duc­ers and ed­u­cate the public on is­sues re­lated to food safety. Both de­ci­sions will en­sure not only the qual­ity and safety of the prod­ucts but also sta­bil­ity in food pro­duc­tion in the re­gion.

Thanks to the sup­port of Wil­liam Wang (王文淵), chair­man of the Formosa Plas­tics Group (台塑集團董事長), the con­struc­tion of the Food Safety Build­ing, which started con­struc­tion in 2015, has two gi­ant chop­sticks in­cluded in the fa­cade of the build­ing as a re­minder of the im­por­tance of food safety. Black and white are the two main col­ors of the build­ing; black serves as a re­minder of the food safety scan­dals that Tai­wanese peo­ple have been through while white rep­re­sents the con­science of ev­ery hu­man be­ing. “Only pro­duc­ers’ con­science can guar­an­tee con­sumers’ con­fi­dence and se­cure­ness (in food prod­ucts),” said Chang.

Ac­cord­ing to the mag­is­trate, the build­ing con­sists of an or­ganic su­per­mar­ket, safety kitchen, res­tau­rant, ar­ti­fact li­brary, seminar room and au­dio­vi­sual class­room. The safety kitchen is where cook­ing classes will be held to present nu­tri­tious and easy-to-make dishes to lo­cal gourmets. As for the or­ganic su­per­mar­ket, it is ded­i­cated to lo­cal brands, selling veg­eta­bles and meat from Chi­ayi. The rest of the area will be for ex­am­i­na­tion use. “In the fu­ture, the Food Safety Build­ing will be op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently as a foun­da­tion con­sti­tuted as a ju­ris­tic per­son and will charge for ex­am­i­na­tion ser­vices,” ex­plained Chang.

A New Era of Ed­u­ca­tion for All

Be­cause train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion are the step­ping stones to food safety and a bet­ter qual­ity of life, Chang has been work­ing to re­duce the ed­u­ca­tional gap that ex­ists be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas by care­fully al­lo­cat­ing ed­u­ca­tional re­sources across the re­gion.

“We have trans­formed an aban­doned school into Chi­ayi Wen­guang In­ter­na­tional English Vil­lage (嘉義縣文光國際英語村), where for­eign­ers can use sit­u­a­tional teach­ing meth­ods to di­rectly teach English,” the mag­is­trate went on. “For in­stance, us­ing China Air­lines’ scrap cabin and seats to teach chil­dren about pi­lot­ing as a prac­ti­cal way of learn­ing the English lan­guage.”

Even though it doesn’t have the same re­sources as ma­jor ur­ban cen­ters in the coun­try, Chi­ayi still pro­vides nec­es­sary funds and re­sources for proper learn­ing. Fur­ther­more, Chi­ayi wants to give chil­dren an in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive on is­sues such as en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Even though the re­gion doesn’t en­joy the same re­sources in push­ing for ad­mis­sion to higher ed­u­ca­tion, Chi­ayi aims to give lo­cal chil­dren the same com­pet­i­tive­ness start­ing from child­hood to adult­hood.

A New Era of In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment

In or­der to im­prove its in­dus­trial ca­pa­bil­ity and give Chi­ayi peo­ple more job op­por­tu­ni­ties, the Chi­ayi County Gov­ern­ment has de­vel­oped the Chi­ayi Da­pumei Pre­ci­sion Machi­nary In­dus­trial Park (嘉義大埔美精密機械園區) and Ma­chouhou In­dus­trial Park (馬稠後產業園區).

Among many other for­eign com­pa­nies that have al­ready set up in Chi­ayi Da­pumei Pre­ci­sion Machi­nary In­dus­trial Park, which spe­cial­izes in the pre­ci­sion op­tics in­dus­try, is the Ja­panese multi­na­tional imag­ing and op­ti­cal gi­ant, Canon. The Canon Chi­ayi Fac­tory is the com­pany’s sec­ond man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Tai­wan — af­ter Taichung — and the first case of over­seas land pur­chase and fac­tory con­struc­tion by the Ja­panese com­pany. With great as­sis­tance from the Chi­ayi County Gov­ern­ment, the con­struc­tion was com­pleted af­ter a record-break­ing 277 days.

As of June this year, the park al­ready has 10 com­pa­nies run­ning and 25 com­pa­nies build­ing fac­to­ries. In the fu­ture, with the op­er­a­tion of Chi­ayi's three in­dus­trial parks, they will at­tract nu­mer­ous global en­ter­prises to set foot in the county, fur­ther cre­ate an an­nual rev­enue of NT$120 bil­lion and of­fer over 35,000 job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

To fur­ther build on its in­dus­trial strengths, Chi­ayi author­i­ties have com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing the county’s trans­porta­tion net­work with a light rail pro­ject un­der de­vel­op­ment in ad­di­tion to the high speed rail and nu­mer­ous highways al­ready in ser­vice. The county gov­ern­ment now aims to fur­ther at­tract more com­pa­nies with low energy

In ad­di­tion to nat­u­ral land­scapes, there is also a wide va­ri­ety of tourism at­trac­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able in Chi­ayi County such as Ruili's wis­te­ria sea­son (瑞里紫藤花季), Guanghua's firefly sea­son (光華螢火蟲季), Chi­ayi Ocean's Sum­mer Fes­ti­val (嘉義東石漁人碼頭海之夏祭), Chi­ayi Cul­ture Cre­ative (神鬼傳奇) and Alis­han Sunrise Im­pres­sion Con­cert (阿里山日出印象音樂會).

Chi­ayi Cul­ture Cre­ative is an ac­tiv­ity held dur­ing the Lu­nar July (農曆七月) each year, which is a time that is typ­i­cally con­sid­ered bad luck by some Tai­wanese peo­ple, but they of­fer a lot of fun to the young and the young at heart.

To Chang, it is Chi­ayi’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to or­ga­nize the county’s var­i­ous nat­u­ral re­sources and pro­mote them by hold­ing pe­ri­odic ac­tiv­i­ties. With its avail­able re­sources, Chaiyi has held the Alis­han Sunrise Im­pres­sion Con­cert for 13 years, which at­tracts around 10,000 to 20,000 peo­ple to hike up Alis­han and wait for sunrise.

On the other hand, The Na­tional Palace Mu­seum South­ern Branch (故宮南院) started its trial op­er­a­tion. Chi­ayi now holds high im­por­tance in South­ern Tai­wan cul­ture, by con­nect­ing Dong­shih Fish­er­man's Wharf (東石漁人碼頭), the Na­tional Palace Mu­seum South­ern Branch, the So­lar Ex­plo­ration Cen­ter (北回歸線太陽館) and Alis­han Na­tional Scenery Area as well as many other tourist spots, turn­ing Chi­ayi into the most beau­ti­ful tourist hot spot, at­tract­ing more and more tourists to visit it and bring­ing more than four mil­lion visi­tors that can cre­ate thou­sands of job op­por­tu­ni­ties. This is Chi­ayi's new era of cul­tural tourism.

The highly an­tic­i­pated Na­tional Palace Mu­seum South­ern Branch in Chi­ayi will open at the end of this year. En­trepreneurs gather around Mag­is­trate He­len Chang, front row cen­ter, to ex­press their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work of Chi­ayi County Gov­ern­ment in front of Da­pumei Pre­ci­sion Ma­chin­ery In­dus­trial Park Ser­vice Cen­ter.

Chi­ayi’s Food Safety Build­ing, which started con­struc­tion in 2015, has two gi­ant chop­sticks in­cluded in the fa­cade of the build­ing as a re­minder of the im­por­tance of food safety.

The an­nual Chi­ayi Ocean's Sum­mer Fes­ti­val is a must-see des­ti­na­tion for hol­i­day-go­ers.

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