Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) is “the most evil man of banality,” prominent Taiwanese literature academic Yang Tsui (楊翠) said yesterday, amid calls for his resignation from the public and legislators across party lines who accused the premier of bad management of the tainted cooking oil scandal, as well as the damage it has done to exports and the reputation of Taiwanese food.
Yang, whose grandfather is Yang Kui (楊逵), a leading Taiwanese writer best known for the books The Newspaper Boy (送報伕) and The Indomitable Rose (壓不扁的玫瑰花), also accused Jiang of acting heavy-handedly toward student protesters, but appearing unhesitant to give perks to the most prominent oil scandal accused, senior Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團) executive Wei Ying-chun (魏應充).
Yang Tsui, an associate professor at National Dung Hwa University, said on Facebook yesterday that the prosecutors and the police were “caring and gentle” while searching Wei’s luxury apartment earlier this week, and did not even dare to go into his kitchen. Wei was also not handcuffed when he was taken from a prosecutors’ inquiry session to the court, as is regular practice.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
Compared with the “gentleness” reserved for Wei, she said, the students in the Sunflower movement who stormed the Executive Yuan were pitilessly handled and arrested, with their wrists scraped by handcuffs. The police even used cable ties to confine students’ movement, “tying [their wrists] dead tight,” said Yang Tsui, who is the mother of one of the Sunflower movement leaders, Dennis Wei (魏揚).
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government offered a legal basis to justify the opposite treatments of Wei Ying-chun and the students, which Yang Tsui furiously called the “KMT’s arbitrary use, non-use and interpretation of the law.”
A wave of boycotts has hit Ting Hsin’s products and the workers at its subsidiary, Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全), have voiced concerns over their livelihood, she said, but Jiang has done nothing to safeguard the workers’ rights and has been nonchalant about animosity between consumers and Wei Chuan’s workers.
“Shouldn’t you be demanding compensation from the corporation for the workers? Why are you letting the situation degenerate into a state where the workers’ rights are pitted against consumers’ rights?” Yang Tsui asked the premier.
The government had also allowed a private jet belonging to the Wei (魏) family — Ting Hsin International Group’s founder-owners — to fly to China without hindrance.
“Can you be 100 percent sure that there is no relevant evidence whatsoever on the jet?” Yang Tsui asked.
“What policies in the world has this ‘Executive’ Yuan ‘executed?’” she added.
The phrase “administrating according to the law” that has been repeatedly used by the KMT government now sounds extremely grating, Yang Tsui said.
“The phrase was used when the government strong-armed small families into a deplorable state, such as in a case of land expropriation in [Miaoli County’s] Dapu [Borough, 大埔], but it has also been used to allow the wealthy [accused] to have more time to destroy evidence and hide their assets. The KMT simply has the final say on everything,” she said.
Despite Jiang’s claim that he “abhors evils as deadly foes,” as far as he is concerned, “the students who stand against him are the most evil, while the KMT-supporting Ting Hsin is not,” Yang Tsui said.
He is either the most hypocritical villain or the “most evil man of banality,” she said.
Meanwhile, a number of civic groups were discussing a plan to stage a large-scale demonstration to protest the string of food safety scandals that have occurred under the watch of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and what they described as the government’s negligence in reining in businesspeople moving freely across the Taiwan Strait, such as the Wei family.
Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) said the Ma administration has been cozying up to China since Ma was elected in 2008, adding that Ting Hsin was allowed to set up its business in Taiwan shortly after Ma came into office.
The recent scandals over food security show that the government is too lenient and protective of these businesspeople who move freely between Taiwan and China, Lu said, calling on Ma and Jiang to take responsibility.
Saying that the public’s ongoing boycott of Ting Hsin products would only solve the problem on the surface, Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said that the Ma administration’s cozying up to corporations lay at the root of all the issues.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
IMPORTS: Fifty-four million imported eggs with a value of more than NT$200 million had to be destroyed, mostly because they expired in storage facilities Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) last night announced that he would resign from his post. Local media on Sunday reported that Chen had resigned due to controversy over the ministry’s egg import program. Later that same evening, the Executive Yuan said that Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) had asked the minister to stay on to resolve the issue. Chen Chi-chung last night made public his decision to resign on Facebook, saying that this time he would not be dissuaded. Chen Chi-chung earlier yesterday apologized for the furor surrounding the egg import program, but added that misinformation had made the problems worse. The government was
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the