The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday defended Su Wei-shuo (蘇偉碩), a doctor whom the Ministry of Health and Welfare has accused of spreading false information about the effects of ractopamine on humans.
Su is a former physician at the Tainan branch of Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital and a member of an alliance of non-governmental organizations that oppose the use of such leanness-enhancing agents on pigs.
The alliance on Wednesday told reporters that Su the previous day had received a notice from the Kaohsiung Police Department’s Sanmin Second Precinct that cited the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) and asked him to go to the precinct on Friday next week with material supporting claims that meat products containing ractopamine affect human health.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The precinct on Wednesday said that the ministry had deemed information related to pork containing ractopamine disseminated online by Su to be false and reported it to the National Police Agency.
“Pork with traces of ractopamine is a public issue that can be discussed and it is the issue that people care most about now,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei.
“People do not want ractopamine pork to be imported,” Wang said.
“Article 11 of the Constitution clearly states that people have freedom of speech, teaching, writing and publication,” she said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is “suppressing freedom of speech,” even on Constitution Day, which falls on the day Su was summoned to the precinct.
Wang asked why the police had summoned him at 10pm, saying that such arrangements at night are rare.
KMT Deputy Secretary-General Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) said that the government is attempting to make people “afraid to speak and afraid to tell the truth.”
The Tsai administration “intends to intimidate voices that differ from the DPP’s [Democratic Progressive Party] position,” the KMT said in a statement.
“It is not Dr Su Wei-shuo who is being humiliated today, but Taiwan’s democracy and freedom of speech,” KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) wrote on Facebook.
“A government that does not tolerate the existence of dissidents and suppresses different opinions in the name of [fighting] false information ... is a false democracy and a true dictatorship,” Chiang wrote.
“Freedom of speech does not equal freedom to spread rumors,” Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) said.
Su has made claims that are “unreasonable” or “exaggerated,” Li said, adding that he should provide evidence to back his claims.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that the ministry would wait for the results of the investigation.
The precinct on Wednesday said that the 10pm appointment was due to its own “negligence.”
The precinct chose the time on the basis that doctors need to see patients during the day and have more free time in the evening, it said.
However, it did not contact Su to discuss the time, it said.
Kaohsiung Police Department Commissioner Liu Po-liang (劉柏良) yesterday called the 10pm arrangement “very inappropriate” and said that an internal review had been conducted.
Su told a news conference held by the alliance that he had compiled a booklet containing scientific evidence of the harm to human posed by ractopamine, which he gave to the ministry at a public hearing in October.
He would take a copy of the booklet when he reports to precinct, he said.
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