Netizens have lashed out at Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) for seemingly attaching more importance to the sun cakes that were allegedly stolen during students’ overnight occupation of the Executive Yuan building on Monday than to the well-being of wounded protesters.
Hsiao and Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) inspected the damage and losses sustained by the Executive Yuan compound on Monday morning, hours after the students were forcibly evicted by riot police at the order of Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺).
“The sun cakes on my desk were taken, my cakes in the refrigerator are also missing. Flower baskets sent by my friends to congratulate me on my recent promotion were trampled. My colleague lost a NT$1,000 bill that he left in his office,” said Hsiao, who was promoted from deputy minister of the interior to his current post earlier this month, as he showed reporters around the building.
Hsiao’s comments drew immediate criticism from netizens, with some threatening to “pay him back” by ordering boxes of sun cakes to be delivered to his office.
A total of 150 boxes of sun cakes donated by netizens were delivered to Hsiao’s office yesterday morning, but Hsiao did not accept them.
The sun cakes were passed on to students occupying the legislative chamber, who are into the eighth day of a protest demanding that the government restart its review of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
Hsaio said yesterday that he did not mind that the sun cakes he reported missing had been eaten.
In a democratic society, people can express their own views to gain public support, but “taking away other people’s possessions without permission is not a way to make a case,” he said.
In response to media queries on whether he would sue the protesters, Hsiao said: “I didn’t think of that. I believe our young friends were hungry. They ate sun cakes and drank mineral water, things like that. However, I believe that they should behave in accordance with the law.”
He said that the point was that people had broken the law by breaking into government offices, going through documents and taking items.
Hsiao, who was previously Greater Taichung deputy mayor, added that he has received several phone calls from friends in Taichung, including Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), saying that demand for sun cakes — a Taichung specialty — have increased recently.
Later yesterday, when the sun cakes were delivered to the protest site, protesters broke into applause.
Protesters raised sun cakes and said: “Thank you Hsiao Chia-chi. [We have] sun cakes to give back to you.”
A protester surnamed Tung (董), who received one of the sun cakes, said she felt “outraged” over Hsiao’s complaint.
“High-level officials care only about desserts and not about students who are being suppressed and injured,” she said.
A woman surnamed Su (蘇), along with three of her colleagues at a hotel in Greater Taichung, said they traveled to Taipei to support the students because they were worried about the negative effects the pact could have on local businesses.
“There will be more hotels operated by Chinese businesspeople, which will force locally owned hotels to shut down. Chinese tourists will live in Chinese-owned hotels. Chinese will make a fortune and Taiwanese will have miserable lives,” Su said.