An article on the CNN Web site that labels Taipei as a city of “gluttony” has angered some legislators and prompted Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) to say that the government would have to fill CNN in on the nation’s cuisine and culture.
Answering questions yesterday from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers at the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee on concerns over the CNN report, Yang said it had “damaged” the nation’s image.
CNNGo, CNN’s culture and travel Web site, on April 20 used Catholicism’s seven deadly sins to describe the seven best Asian cities for indulgence, with Taipei named as the best city for gluttony.
“We understand the media’s need for interesting and provocative articles, but gluttony, the word … is indecent and it has a negative connotation,” Yang told KMT Legislator Chen Shu-huey (陳淑慧).
The CNN report was an issue of interest among several KMT lawmakers at the committee.
“I can’t stand the idea that we are described as gluttonous. Saying that Taipei is a city of gluttony is definitely not praise for its delicacies,” KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said.
KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) also said the incident had hurt the nation’s image.
KMT Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄) said the CNN report suggested that people in Taiwan are “fond of eating and averse to work.”
“What’s wrong with eating?” Chiang asked.
CNN showed a lack of courtesy by attaching such a vulgar label to Taipei, Chiang said.
In response, Yang said Taipei is a city where visitors can enjoy gourmet food.
CNNGo said visitors can find cheap meals everywhere, day and night, in a city that sports 18 streets dedicated to nothing but food.
“Where you might usually expect a bus shelter, instead you’ll find a barbecue. Sidewalks become snack stalls. The pungent smell of stinky tofu fills the air. Night markets in Taipei have become famous for their snack selections, or xiaochi, literally meaning ‘small eats,’” the article says.
“The dishes may be little, but so are the prices, running [at] about US$1 or US$2,” it said, adding: “A fat gut never came so easily.”
Speaking to reporters later yesterday, Yang said he had asked the Department of International Information to communicate its concerns to CNN.
“I also feel that [gluttony] is a strong word to use. We don’t need to be too angry over this, because this is the bantering style of the report,” he said. “Nonetheless, it has affected the nation’s image to some extent and some people do care about this.”
On the bright side, Yang said, the government would use the incident to boost international recognition of Taiwanese gourmet and culinary culture.
The Tourism Bureau said “gluttony” was an interesting way to promote Taiwan when compared with the other words used by CNNGo to describe other Asian cities, including “sloth” for Seoul and “wrath” for Pyongyang.
The Discovery channel once introduced Taiwan in a program titled Glutton For Punishment, it said.
Cheng Ying-hui (鄭瑛慧), an official at the Tourism Bureau, said gluttony does not always have to be interpreted as meaning something negative.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten