Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Liu promises answers on defamatory blog scandal

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday the government would give the public an explanation by Monday on a recent uproar stirred by a set of articles defaming Taiwan and Taiwanese people allegedly written by a diplomat in Canada.

Liu made the remarks during a question-and-answer session in response to inquiries from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Tian (余天) and Su Cheng-ching (蘇震清).

INVESTIGATION

The Government Information Office (GIO) is checking to see whether Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), information division director of Taiwan’s representative office in Toronto, wrote blogs using insulting terms to refer to Taiwan and Taiwanese people, Liu said, adding that the government may ask Kuo to return to Taiwan to account for the matter.

“If [allegations that Kuo is the writer] were true, he would be severely punished … We wouldn’t let him off so easily … I can’t believe that our civil servants would make the remarks,” Liu said.

The allegation was originally made by DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) on Thursday. Kuan said that Kuo wrote the blogs using the pen name Fan Lan-chin (范蘭欽) referring to Taiwanese as taibazi (台巴子, meaning “Taiwanese rednecks”) or wokou (倭寇, meaning “Japanese pirates”).

Yu and Su yesterday said the government should demand that Kuo return the salary he received working in the office.

While agreeing that if the allegations were true, “Kuo would not deserve to serve the country,” Liu said that matters of salary had to be decided according to regulations.

GIO Vice Minister Hsu Chiu-huang (許秋煌) said on Thursday that according to Kuo, he and “a group of friends” had shared the pen name.

Later yesterday, GIO Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the office had decided to ask Kuo to come back to Taiwan and report on the matter.

A number of articles under the name Fan Lan-chih were posted on a Web Site called Mass-age.

DENIAL

Kuo told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) in a phone call yesterday that he was not Fan Lan-chin.

Kuo also denied saying that he shared the pen name with a group of friends. He said that after people speculated that Fan Lan-chin was his pen name, he inquired into what kind of Web site Mass-age.com was. Kuo said that when Hsu asked him about the blogs, he only told Hsu that Mass-age.com was used by a group of people, adding that he had no idea how his remarks were misinterpreted to imply that he and a group of friends used the pen name.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TSENG WEI-CHEN

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