A National Taiwan University (NTU) doctoral student who protested the government’s relaxation of US bone-in beef import regulations by eating a cow dung hamburger yesterday continued his campaign in front of the legislature after police had forcibly removed him and a coffin on Sunday night.
Chu Cheng-chi (朱政騏), a graduate student at NTU’s Graduate Institute of Sociology, lay down outside the legislature’s front gate and covered himself with a straw mat — a gesture Chu said symbolized how the poor cover the body of a deceased person.
He said he would continue his hunger strike to protest a proposal by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus to amend the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法).
Chu was referring to a proposal the KMT put forward last Tuesday to authorize the government to “draw up measures to inspect beef products from areas where the risk of mad cow disease has been under control,” instead of two other prosoals for a ban on “risky” beef products from the US.
Chu began a “lie in” protest in a coffin in front of the legislature on Saturday and vowed to stage a hunger strike until today, but police fined him and forcibly removed the coffin on Sunday night, saying Chu had violated the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Act (道路交通管理處罰條例).
Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山), a doctoral student from National Tsing Hua University, who also covered himself with a grass mat next to Chu, said five more doctoral students would join the protest should police forcibly remove Chu and Huang.
Chu began his anti-US beef campaign on Oct. 29 after the government announced its plan to allow imports of US bone-in beef, as well as offal and ground beef from cattle younger than 30 months.
Chu posted a video clip on Youtube in which he ate a cow dung hamburger on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.
Meanwhile, KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) continued to criticize the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus for threatening to paralyze today’s plenary session over the wording of a number of proposed amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation.
Lin said the KMT’s proposal would guarantee public health as well as protect Taiwan-US relations.
He accused the DPP of being too “emotional.”
“Does the DPP have its own political interests or the public’s interests in mind?” Lin said.
The legislature is scheduled to debate the proposal today.
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