The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Taiwan Provincial Government have been accused of patronage appointments after rehiring controversial former civil servant Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英), who has outraged many with remarks that critics said amounted to Kuo inciting racial hatred among “Mainlander” Chinese against ethnic Taiwanese.
At a legislative committee meeting yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) questioned Kuo’s hiring in February as foreign affairs secretary at the Nantou County-based office of the streamlined Taiwan Provincial Government.
“How can a government agency waste taxpayers’ money by hiring a former civil servant who is older than 60 and nearing retirement? When Kuo is eligible for retirement in July, he can collect pension benefits worth more than NT$5 million [US$165,930],” Tsai said.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
“How can the government use the state coffers for such an egregious case of patronage?” Tsai asked at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
The DPP legislator accused Kuo of “sowing national discord and provoking antagonism among ethnic groups.”
“Ten people applied for this job and six of them met the qualifications. However, the decision was made to hire Kuo, who is already nearing retirement. This has led to complaints from other applicants,” Tsai said.
“Look at the Sunflower movement. It organized an international media center for translation and interpretation. This shows that we have many young people who are proficient in foreign languages,” Tsai said. “Does Taiwan not have many people who are highly qualified for such jobs? This is such a rotten government.”
Kuo sparked a public outcry in 2009 when he used the pseudonym Fan Lan-chin (范蘭欽) to write political commentaries on Web sites in which he referred to himself as a “high-class Chinese Mainlander,” while referring to ethnic Taiwanese as descendants of “Japanese pirates and rednecks” and Tai-ba-zi (台巴子), meaning “country bumpkins.”
Kuo also wrote: “[China] should spend many years suppressing [Taiwanese] instead of granting [them] any political freedom once they have taken Taiwan by force.”
At the time, Kuo was in the diplomatic service with the now-defunct Government Information Office, stationed in Toronto, Canada.
He was dismissed from that job in 2009 due to media reports and public protests over his writings.
Critics accused Kuo of being a racist, saying his writing aimed to instigate ethnic hatred by saying Mainlanders are superior to “lower-class” ethnic Taiwanese.
Tsai said he has checked with officials at the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration and was told that Kuo’s job was only “conditional” and the work had been done by a MOFA section chief in the past.
“However, the position suddenly became open this year and Kuo was rehired and I suspect MOFA or the provincial government office worked behind the scenes to accomplish this,” he added. “I also suspect President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration was behind that manipulation.”
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shih Ting (石定) said his ministry was not involved in hiring Kuo.
“All personnel hiring decisions at MOFA are treated in an open, fair and equitable manner. We will try to clarify which department is responsible for this post,” Shih said.
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
‘INCREASED VIGILANCE’: A source of infection has not yet been found for the latest two cases in a hospital cluster, which should serve as a warning, Chen Shih-chung said A total of 2,991 people associated with a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital have been put under home isolation, after an emergency expanded isolation order was issued on Sunday evening, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Fifteen people have so far tested positive in the cluster infection. The first case in the cluster (case No. 838) was reported on Jan. 12 — a doctor who treated an infected patient who had returned from the US. Contact tracing for the first 13 cases found connections to case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that
DUBIOUS HONOR? A man in his 90s, who tested positive yesterday and is part of the Taoyuan hospital cluster, is the oldest person in Taiwan to have contracted COVID-19 Taiwan yesterday recorded six new imported cases of COVID-19 and two new domestic cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the local infections are linked to the cluster at Taoyuan General Hospital, which now totals 12 cases. One of the domestic cases is a man in his 90s, who was treated earlier this month at Taoyuan General Hospital and tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday last week, four days before he was discharged, the center said in a statement. After one of the nurses on the ward was confirmed on Saturday last week to have contracted COVID-19, the