Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Democracy regressing

“Well, look at Taiwan, look at [South] Korea, different places,” US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said recently. (“PRC stalling on human rights: House speaker,” June 7, page 1). While Taiwanese joined others in discussing the slow progress of human rights in China on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, how many of us noticed that democracy in Taiwan is moving backwards?

Why were the parents of a Tamkang University student warned by police after their child attended the protest held by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on May 17? Why was a student arrested and investigated by the police just for shouting “Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] step down!” at a Taiwan High Speed Rail station in March? Why was Sunrise Records shut down by police because they were playing patriotic Taiwanese music when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visited Taipei last year?

I can’t believe all these incidents happened in a so-called democratic country. Living in Taiwan in the 21st century, we are supposed to have the basic human right of freedom of speech. Martial Law was lifted in 1987 by former President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), but maybe Ma forgot about that. Otherwise, why was I warned by an unfriendly policeman with fierce eyes and a pointing finger for having a yellow ribbon with the words “Taiwan is my country” tied to my car?

SALLY WU

Taipei City

Eating meat is not healthy

Thank you for running the story “DPP calls for campaign against US beef imports” (June 26, page 4) on the disturbing negotiations to increase beef imports from the US.

It seems the DPP was right on the money when it said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were jeopardizing public health. Shame on them!

Not to offend anyone, but why do you think the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is pushing Taiwanese to increase beef imports? For our health? I believe it is strictly for economic reasons.

Earlier this year, the AIT and its Director Stephen Young held a benefit for Taiwan’s needy, including children, providing a free “meat dinner.” This was an obvious marketing scheme by the AIT and nothing more.

The AIT uses phrases like “based on science.” Well I wish the DOH would research more deeply the “real science” behind the problem. For starters, it is quickly becoming known throughout the world that “meat” as a food is absolutely not healthy for the human body. Numerous studies have proven that animal protein promotes heart disease, colon cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The meat industry and those that support it have duped citizens for decades into believing their product is healthy. Only plant protein promotes health. Animal protein detracts from human health. Animals themselves only get their protein from plants. The DOH needs to spread this information to all Taiwanese citizens.

This is the root of the situation — not whether US meat from cattle more than 30 months old should be considered safe or not. In fact, no meat products are safe, not from any country. Numerous diseases come from animal production: swine flu, bird flu, etc.

Meat production is also a major cause of deforestation, and global food and water shortages. I care deeply for my fellow citizens, and sincerely wish they were given the proper information by government bodies instead of about economic and diplomatic maneuvering.

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