The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) caucus yesterday urged the Control Yuan to investigate whether the Executive Yuan breached administrative neutrality by launching smear campaigns against opposition parties.
The TPP made the appeal after staff members at the office of the Executive Yuan spokesperson were reportedly seen by members of the media creating memes casting aspersions on some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.
Article 9 of the Public Servant Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法) prohibits public servants from using executive resources to create items for the purpose of supporting or opposing any political party, group or candidate, TPP deputy caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said, adding that former Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) might also have contravened the law.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Ting in his capacity as Executive Yuan spokesman on Thursday last week held up placards that featured memes claiming that the winner of this year’s Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival used beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.
The restaurant later in the day denied the allegation and produced a copy of its SGS certification showing that no ractopamine residue was found in its beef.
Ting resigned from his post on Sunday.
Article 14 of the act states that supervisors cannot instruct public servants to do anything prohibited by the act, so whether Ting knew about the staff creating memes should be clarified, Jang said.
TPP caucus whip Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) urged the Control Yuan to probe whether the Executive Yuan hired staff to create placards or memes in a bid to spread false information, and whether the office of the Executive Yuan spokesman has been downgraded to a mouthpiece of the government.
While some have praised the placards and memes for their efficiency in conveying information, they have also led to the circulation of misleading or fake news, Lai said, adding that a victim’s reputation cannot be easily restored once tainted.
In response, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺), who is filling the post vacated by Ting, said that the Executive Yuan has always seen clarifying untrue or misleading information as one of its main responsibilities.
In any cases of careless or misleading information, the Executive Yuan would promptly issue corrections and not shy away from apologizing, Li added.
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group might have lost its right to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to fulfill a contract in Taiwan, civic groups Taiwan Citizen Front and the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday. In a radio interview on Feb. 17, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said that last year, Taiwan was close to signing a contract to buy doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that the deal was halted at the last moment, with some speculating that Chinese interference was to blame. On Monday last week, the center
A Tainan taxi driver is the Taiwanese with the longest name, after he last month changed it so that it now contains 25 characters, the Anping District Household Registration Office said. The 47-year-old man, formerly known as Huang Hsin-hsiang (黃鑫翔), applied for the name change on Feb. 26, in the hope that it would bring him good luck. His new name starts with Huang Da-lan (黃大嵐) and adds another 22 characters, meaning “Huang Da-lan is the blessed darling and sweetheart of the god of joy, god of wealth, god of misfortune, god of Earth and all the gods,” it said. With
Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) yesterday said that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “should not follow the Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] direction,” after KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) had said that China posed a threat to Taiwan. Chiang was quoted by Reuters as saying during an interview that China’s “one country, two systems” formula for an unification with Taiwan “has no market” in the nation. Chiang also described China as the major threat to Taiwan, Reuters reported. Jaw, who has expressed interest in running for KMT chairman this year and in the 2024 presidential election, wrote on Facebook that