A group of activists demonstrated at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday to protest what they called Washington’s high-handed attitude in forcing Taiwan to open its doors to US beef containing residues of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.
The protest was organized by several civic groups, including the National Alliance for Food Safety and Citizen Congress Watch.
The Legislative Yuan is scheduled to vote next week on a package of amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) that would pave the way for the entry under strict conditions of US beef containing residues of the currently banned drug.
The activists sang ballads, performed skits and chanted slogans to highlight their cause.
In one skit, activists acted as US President Barack Obama and AIT Director William Stanton, forcing Taiwanese people to eat US beef contaminated with ractopamine, a drug that is banned in Taiwan and dozens of other countries because of health concerns.
Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), president of the Homemakers United Foundation, a key member of a national alliance for food safety, described the US as one of Taiwan’s allies in the international community.
“Therefore, it should not be coercing Taiwan to import its ractopamine-contaminated beef, putting our people’s health at risk,” Chen said.
Even though Taiwan is an “underdog” in global society, it should not be forced to seek international cooperation at the expense of its people’s health, Chen added.
Cheng Hsiu-chuan (鄭秀娟), head of the Wenshan Community College in Taipei, said the US traditionally regards Taiwan as a friend.
“It should not stray from that tradition by forcing Taiwan to import its drug-tainted beef. We should fight against such a move to win respect. Otherwise, we could be forced to compromise on more things or accept even more humiliating terms in the future,” Cheng said.
Police officers were mobilized to keep the protesters away from the AIT’s main entrance.
The AIT did not send any officials to meet the demonstrators.
The protest lasted for about 15 minutes and ended peacefully.