The Tourism Bureau yesterday said that an administrative order demanding local governments remove posters and billboards put up by the Falun Gong movement at tourist attractions was a “rookie mistake” made by a new official and the bureau would revise the order within a week.
Blasted by lawmakers and representatives of Falun Gong in a news conference, Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Hsi-tsung (張錫聰) said that the document, issued on Sept. 26, which asked all Falun Gong posters to be removed, was a mistake.
Chang promised to issue a new order next week.
The document, written by a staffer whom Chang said has been with the bureau for less than two months, singled out Falun Gong’s billboards and posters installed at various sightseeing spots and said they “might negatively affect foreign tourists’ perception of the country.”
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said that, with the order, the bureau has become Beijing’s “hired thug” in its oppression of religious freedom and freedom of expression.
“It was the most serious humiliation for Falun Gong and its practitioners. If this is not fascism, then what is?” said National Taiwan University professor Flora Chang (張錦華), a representative of Falun Gong.
The professor urged the bureau to immediately repeal the order and apologize to Falun Gong and its practitioners.
She called on Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation to reaffirm their determination to safeguard Taiwan’s democratic values.