Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday urged the public to stand up against China’s human rights contraventions, after some Taiwanese celebrities joined Beijing’s boycott of clothing brands that expressed concern over allegations of forced labor on cotton plantations in China’s Xinjiang region.
China’s state-owned media have called on the Chinese public to boycott foreign firms including Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) and Nike Inc following sanctions by Western governments over the mass internment of Muslim Uighurs.
In response, several Taiwanese entertainers have withdrawn their endorsements from the brands targeted by Beijing.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
During a plenary session at the legislature yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) asked Cabinet officials to comment on the celebrities.
She said Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜), Janine Chang (張鈞甯) and Greg Hsu (許光漢) were among those who joined the Beijing-directed boycott of “all speech and action that slandered China.”
In response, Su said that “some people have no sense of propriety. Their actions were selfish and showed a lack of understanding for the importance of human rights.”
Although the entertainers’ behavior was against Taiwan’s “national interest and disrespectful of human rights,” Taiwan is a country based on rights, and the government would not take action against offensive, but otherwise legal speech, he said.
“I call on the public to speak on behalf of human rights, and to work toward advancing human rights in the world,” Su said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee De-wei (李德維) asked Su if the government has plans to sanction imports of cotton from Xinjiang.
Su said that while Executive Yuan agencies have not proposed any plans yet, “I have fought for human rights all my life and my belief is that we should boycott anything and anyone who contravenes human rights.”
Taiwan’s transformation into a democracy took years and was due to the effort of multiple generations of Taiwanese, and the nation must condemn oppression wherever it occurs, he said.
If Taiwan imposes sanctions, the government would select policies that achieve the best results for the country, Su said, adding that Taiwan should not be left behind when other human rights-respecting democracies are boycotting Beijing for its abuses.
“Human rights are universal values and an expression of civilization,” Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) said.
China’s human rights abuses are severe, and Taiwan should stand with the world in condemning and sanctioning it, he said.
Lee called on the entertainers to look at the world from the perspective of values and not commercial profit, which have led them to give endorsements to a government that disrespects human rights.
Concerning sanctions, Wu said she believes that the government should take a more active role and not just ask the public to boycott cotton from Xinjiang.
The Executive Yuan could exclude cotton from the region and other products associated with human rights abuses from government procurement, and ask socially responsible businesses to boycott products made by forced labor, she said.
“This is an opportunity for Taiwan’s textile industry to enter the global market. Should major countries propose a total ban [on cotton from Xinjiang], we should consider joining it,” she said.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
‘DOWN TO ZERO 2.0’: All pilots are to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew on long-haul flights have to quarantine for 14 days The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced stricter measures to contain a COVID-19 outbreak among China Airlines (華航) flight crew, as the nature of the confirmed cases indicated an unknown chain of transmission within the airline. The “Down to Zero 2.0” plan will be tough on China Airlines personnel, but is necessary to minimize the risk to society, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Under the measures, all China Airlines pilots and copilots are to be recalled to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew who are returning from long-haul flights or who have
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
SHOPPING MALL: People who have been to places visited by the confirmed cases at about the same time should pay attention to their health condition and report symptoms The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday revealed several locations in Taoyuan and Taipei visited by two people confirmed to have COVID-19 when they were likely contagious. Case No. 1,183 — a China Airlines (華航) pilot, the husband of case No. 1,184 — on May 1 visited the “Pilot in Cafe” coffee shop from 12pm to 12:30pm, the Gloria Outlets (華泰名品城) shopping mall from 1pm to 1:30pm and Hutung Peng’s Old Shop Xinjiang Ramen (胡同彭家老舖新疆拉麵) from 2pm to 2:30pm, all in Taoyuan, the CECC said. People who visited the venues at about those times should pay attention to their health condition, and