Sat, Mar 28, 2009 - Page 1 News List

GIO official in trouble for lending Kuo his name

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Paris-based Government Information Office (GIO) official is in hot water after he allegedly allowed disgraced former government official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) to use his name in a newspaper opinion piece defending Kuo's reputation.

Pan Shun-yun (潘舜昀), first secretary at the Taipei Representative Office in Paris, will be referred to the GIO's evaluation and discipline committee for investigation over an article posted in support of Kuo, the former Toronto-based GIO official recently sacked for his online articles smearing Taiwan and Taiwanese.

Kuo Chung-sheng (郭忠聖), director of the GIO's personnel department, said yesterday that the committee would hold a meeting to determine who was the author of the article.

“Whether [Pan's] behavior in having his opinions on [the Kuo Kuan-ying incident] published in the paper was appropriate will be determined by the committee,” Kuo Chung-sheng said.

The article under Pan's byline and using his diplomatic title was published on the opinion page of the Chinese-language United Daily News on Wednesday, in a rebuttal of a profile story on Kuo Kuan-ying posted a day earlier.

In the profile, Kuo Kuan-ying's personality, interpersonal skills and performance evaluation were described negatively.

The rebuttal, using Pan's byline, was titled “My Colleague Kuo Kuan-ying.” It dismissed criticism of Kuo Kuan-ying and explained why Kuo Kuan-ying received a “B” in his performance appraisal during his time at the GIO's Department of Motion Pictures.

The article said that as one of Kuo Kuan-ying's superiors responsible for evaluating his performance, he thought Kuo Kuan-ying should have received an “A.”

But Kuo Kuan-ying was willing to receive a “B” because of GIO conventions that limited the quota of “A” marks, which were usually given to younger colleagues, the author said.

Pan's article drew the ire of the GIO, with officials saying that civil servants should not make their opinions public without the permission of their superiors.

Asked whether Pan's referral to the evaluation and discipline committee meant that GIO officials were not allowed to give opinions to the media, Kuo Chung-sheng said no, adding that “it was because the article under Pan's byline was related to the Kuo Kuan-ying incident.”

Pedro Yuan (袁凱聲), acting director of the GIO's International Information Office, said yesterday that Pan had implied that the article supporting Kuo Kuan-ying was written by Kuo Kuan-ying, adding that Pan had agreed to let him use his name out of friendship.

The GIO sacked Kuo Kuan-ying on Monday for his “inconsistent” explanations on the identity of Fan Lan-chin (范蘭欽), the author of the articles defaming Taiwan, and a series of remarks made to the media that the GIO considered to be in “defiance of the government.”

The decision came shortly after Kuo Kuan-ying admitted in a television interview on Monday that he was Fan.

Kuo Chung-sheng yesterday said that Kuo Kuan-ying was supposed to report to the GIO by Tuesday to complete necessary procedures for his dismissal.

When asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said Kuo Kuan-ying was “really different from normal people,” adding that the caucus' previous advice that Kuo visit a psychotherapist was “definitely the right suggestion.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG

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