ISSUE 71                                                                              December 24, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● Featured Editorial: 

Double Face of Democracy

● Featured Editorial: 
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Taiwanese Doctor Faces Police Questioning for Ractopamine Comments, Calls Upon President Tsai to Testify
Psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo, who opposes the importation of pork containing ractopamine, claimed that he would ask President Tsai Ing-wen to testify in an upcoming police inquiry. In 2009, Tsai had led a major demonstration against "poisonous beef" and claimed that beef containing ractopamine is poisonous.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

Su: If Prosecuted, Shall Request President Tsai to Testify as Witness

United Daily News, December 18, 2020


Clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo, who asserted that ractopamine is harmful to human body, has allegedly “had his water meter checked” (a euphemism for certain citizen being visited by police in a gesture of intimidating political dissenters), and this incident led several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civic groups to stand out in support of Doctor Su. Su said that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen can send him to jail but cannot change the fact that the ractopamine is harmful to human health.


Doctor Su was requested by a written notice to pay a visit to a designated police office to explain the accusation by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) against him. The MOHW reported the doctor to the police under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, a law with a penalty up to three years sentence in jail, for spreading untrue rumors to the general public. Doctor Su expressed that such an accusation against him not only serves to intimidate himself but also other doctors numbering some 30,000 in Taiwan. Even if the Tsai administration sends him to jail, it cannot change the fact that ractopamine is harmful to health. If he is summoned, he will request President Tsai as the witness to testify.

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Featured Editorial
Psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo, who opposes the importation of ractopamine pork, was questioned by the police. Civic groups like "Autumn Struggle" came forth to extend support to the doctor.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Double Face of Democracy

China Times, December 17, 2020


Clinical psychiatrist Su Wei-shuo, who followed closely the issue of pork containing ractopamine, published a comment claiming that ractopamine pork is poisonous. Ever since, Doctor Su was not only harassed by the police which interrogated him but was also considered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to be an author of false rumors. The MOHW accused him of violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation. This incident caused a social uproar criticizing the current government is worse than martial law period. In the meantime, president Tsai posted comment on Facebook supporting Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Media. The contrast is ridiculous and ironic.


Lai was handcuffed by Hong Kong police the other day and delivered with his waist chained to Hong Kong court for trial. President Tsai Ing-wen posted an article on Facebook to support him saying “this nearly humiliating picture is creating a chilling effect.” President Tsai stressed: “I will support Mr. Lai without equivocation. I hope to let him know that the whole Taiwan and the whole world are watching this scene. The one humiliated is not Mr. Lai but also the democracy and rule of law of Hong Kong.”

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Featured Editorial
In a meeting with Director Brent Christensen of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen, in front of the media, expressed publicly her opposition to the importation of American pork containing ractoapmine.
(Photo from: China Times)

Please Excuse the Tough Mayor

The Storm Media , December 18 , 2020


Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen recently received the Director Brent Christensen of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and directly expressed the municipal government’s opposition to importing pork containing ractopamine. In response, the AIT issued a statement, which is a rare act on the AIT’s part, stating that Taiwanese politicians have been spreading false information that causes unfounded anxieties among Taiwanese consumers. Regarding their interactions, opposers believe that Lu’s “political raid” falls short of diplomatic courtesy while supporters believe that Lu was clever and bold enough to take the opportunity to voice the public opinion.


Although public opinion on whether Lu was discourteous may vary, it is obvious that Director Christensen was indeed offended; otherwise, he would not have put out an unnamed but clearly targeted statement. Concerning this incident, there are several aspects worth contemplating.

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This Week in Taiwan
A referendum case opposing ractopamine pork sponsored by the Kuomintang (KMT) passed the first phase. If it successfully garners 290,000 petitions, then the issue will be voted upon August 28 next year.
(Photo from: The Storm Media)

December 14: News circulating on the Internet claimed that President Tsai Ing-wen held a ministerial-level meeting in which officials consumed Michelin restaurant bento boxes valued at NT$6,980 (about US$246) apiece. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) refuted this as false information, and after Premier Su Tseng-chang ordered strict law enforcement, the police arrested individuals based on the Social Order Maintenance Act. Five courts in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, New Taipei, and Taoyuan found that the speech did not constitute violation of law and ruled that the seven Internet users not be fined 


December 15: Taiwan launched a new fleet of domestically-made coast guard patrol vessels. President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the occasion, naming the vessel "Tajiang" for Taiwanese aborigines. The vessels are equipped with Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles, OTO Melara 76 mm naval guns, Phalanx CIWS weapon systems, and Sea Sword II missiles. The vessel is dubbed the Taiwanese version of arsenal ship. 


December 17: The Central Bank announced that it will freeze interest rates for a third time and sharply raised economic growth estimates of this year and next year to 2.58 percent and 3.68 percent, respectively. 


Responding to the United States' including Taiwan on a currency manipulator watch list, Governor Yang Chin-long stated that stabilizing the exchange rate is a chief responsibility of the Central Bank and should take precedence over concerns about the exchange rate report published by the United States.


December 18: The Moscow classical ballet group was scheduled to perform starting December 16 in Taiwan. However, after 14 days of quarantine, eight Russian group members were confirmed with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Consequently, the 12 performances in Taiwan were subsequently canceled, and 44 group members departed  the country on December 18. The main organizer udnFunLife claimed the losses and pledged to refund 15,000 tickets in full with no deadline. 


December 18: The lifting of import restrictions on American pork containing ractopamine will enter the final stage of debate in parliament. The Legislative Yuan is scheduled to vote on December 24 nine executive orders on importing ractopamine pork and proposed amendments for the Food Safety Act and the School Health Act. Additionally, the Central Election Commission determined that the KMT's two referendum cases against ractopamine pork conform to the regulations. If they are successfully approved, the referendum cases will be voted upon August 28 next year. Opposition against ractopamine pork has extended from local counties and cities and the parliament to a public vote by the people. 


December 19: As a consequence of the pandemic, Ministry of Transportation and Communications officials calculate that visitors to Taiwan this year will only total about 1.37 million, down by 10.5 million from the previous year. The impact represents a decline in the number of tourists by more than 88 percent and a loss of nearly NT$370 billion (about US$13.1 billion) in tourism revenue. Market hearsay has it that major travel agencies are planning for large-scale layoffs in the coming year.

Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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