Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) disagreed with criticism recently leveled by more than 150 academics at Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), whose factory in China has seen 13 employees commit suicide by jumping off buildings.
The group of academics on Sunday urged the government to stop offering subsidies and economic incentives to companies such as Hon Hai Precision Co, the parent company of Foxconn in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, to end what they called a Taiwanese-owned “sweatshop” in China.
While filing their petition, the academics called Gou the “shame of Taiwan.”
During a speech at a ceremony for Police Day, Wu for the second time publicly stated his support for Gou, questioning the appropriateness of academics making “mean” comments about the chairman.
“If [the academics] are really concerned about current affairs, why didn’t they say anything when corruption scandals attracted the world’s attention? Why didn’t they call them the ‘shame of Taiwan’?” Wu asked, referring to the scandals surrounding former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
An entrepreneur who started his businesses from scratch, Gou has made huge contributions to the country by boosting its economic development, providing jobs, sponsoring a cancer research center, helping flood victims rebuild their homes and learn organic farming techniques, Wu said.
Last month, Wu sought to give Gou a moral boost when asked to comment on the series of suicides at Foxconn.
The academics also demanded that the government launch an investigation into the suicides, but the Executive Yuan has yet to respond to the request.