Sat, Dec 07, 2019 - Page 1 News List

KMT politicians seek answers in Yang Hui-ju case

By Sean Lin and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip William Tseng, right, and KMT Legislator Arthur Chen speak at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explain whether Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) participated in an online posting that has been implicated in the suicide of a diplomat and was allegedly ordered by Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如).

Led by KMT caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗), a group of KMT legislators and Taipei city councilors yesterday visited the ministry, demanding a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).

The group was stopped by police stationed and a scuffle ensued. After trying in vain to enter the building for 90 minutes, the politicians left.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Monday charged Yang and a man surnamed Tsai (蔡) — who shares an IP address with Yang — with insulting public official Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), then director-general of the Osaka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, in a posting on the Professional Technology Temple bulletin board.

The fabricated report said that the Chinese embassy in Tokyo sent buses to evacuate Chinese from Kansai International Airport after Typhoon Jebi forced the airport to close on Sept. 4 last year, leading some Internet users to criticize the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Japan, headed by Hsieh, for not offering Taiwanese similar assistance.

On Sept. 6, Tsai allegedly defended Hsieh in an online post and blamed the Osaka branch, headed by Su. The post called the Osaka branch officials “the remaining evil elements of the party-state.”

Su committed suicide at his residence eight days later.

Media reports speculated that his death might have be linked to work pressure caused by the criticism.

Later yesterday, KMT legislators Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) and Chen Yu-chen (陳玉珍) said that their hands were injured during the fracas at the ministry, adding that they had to seek treatment at a hospital.

Meanwhile, Tseng criticized the ministry for its treatment of the lawmakers.

Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the ministry deals with foreign affairs and it is not a place for “politicians to put on a show.”

She urged politicians to exercise self-restraint and not to take advantage of civil servants to reap electoral benefits.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in response to media queries about Yang’s case that while the fabricated report about Kansai International Airport was soon debunked, the story had sparked conflicting views and opinions.

“In its immediate aftermath, members of the KMT legislative caucus, along with certain commentators in the media, were the ones launching attacks against our foreign affairs officials and Taiwan’s representative office in Japan,” she said. “The judiciary investigated and the media then clarified the matter, so people should not distort and magnify the incident to disparage all levels of the government.”

The finger-pointing going on is not fair to the nation’s diplomats, who are diligent and dedicated to their jobs, she said.

The president was asked about her relationship with Yang after she was shown a 2008 photograph in which she was talking to a group of people that included Yang.

“I do not know her well. There was no personal friendship,” Tsai Ing-wen said.

Additional reporting by Peng Wan-hsin

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