Sat, Jun 06, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Water label creates wave of controversy

By Rich Chang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling holds up bottled deep ocean water produced by Taiwan Yes, a subsidiary of Taiwan Fertilizer, in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday criticized state-run Taiwan Fertilizer after it was found to be producing bottled water for the China market with “China, Taiwan” listed as the place of production on the label.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said yesterday that Taiwan Yes, a subsidiary of Taiwan Fertilizer, bottled deep ocean water. To sell the products in China, the company labeled the source of the water as “China, Taiwan, Hualien Pacific Ocean, 662m below sea level.”

Kuan said the state-run company was selling out Taiwan to make money in China.

“When a state-run company does this, how can the country ask the international community not to list Taiwan as a province of China?” she said.

She also said Taiwan had been labeled as “Taiwan, Province of China” on the store locator of the Starbucks Coffee Company’s Web site until last week, but after people complained, Starbucks changed the listing.

Kuan said that Taiwan Fertilizer chairman Chung Jung-chi (鍾榮吉), a former legislative vice speaker for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), should change the label immediately.

DPP Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) said it was a shame that “Taiwan’s sovereignty is only worth the price of a bottle of water.”

Executive Yuan Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said yesterday that Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) disapproved of the company’s move.

Su said that Liu had demanded a review of the incident and rectification of the problem.

“The Executive Yuan has noticed the problem and [Liu] is very much concerned about it,” Su said.

KMT lawmakers also expressed disapproval.

“We don’t have to denigrate ourselves because Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, called us ‘Chinese Taipei,’” KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said.

KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) said Taiwan Fertilizer should have been more prudent than other private businesses because part of its funding came from the government.

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