Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday condemned Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Institute of Revolutionary Practice director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) for calling the government a “vaccine beggar” for receiving a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from the US.
“Lo is still living in feudal China,” DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a news conference.
“When Taiwan needs unity, he uses malicious words to malign our president’s character and Taiwan’s national integrity. This person is either evil or he is completely ignorant,” she said.
Photo: screen grab from the Internet
Taiwan donated 2 million masks to the US, and provided 2 million masks and 50,000 protective gowns to Japan when they faced a shortage of medical supplies last year, Kuan said.
“Now we are short on vaccines, and in turn the US and Japan are helping us. This is the beneficial effect of Taiwan providing aid to the international community. It is not begging: It reflects the distribution of resources within an alliance of partner countries,” she said.
“When Japan and the US received Taiwan’s donation last year, they did not feel like they were begging... US Department of State spokesman Ned Price tweeted that the US-Taiwan health partnership helped save lives in the US,” Kuan said.
Japan on June 4 sent 1.24 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan and the US on Saturday sent 2.5 million doses.
Lo wrote on Facebook that “after all the work to obtain vaccines, we had to depend on donations from other countries... After the boasting is over, we see that [the government’s] advance preparation efforts were just to become a vaccine beggar.”
Lo wrote in a separate post: “Tsai ... had to act like a ‘beggar’ to beg for vaccines from the US,” referring to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The posts went viral on social media and were reported by the media, sparking controversy.
DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) told the news conference: “When Japan sent 1.24 million doses to Taiwan, a KMT lawmaker said Japan should give us 3.11 million doses more. Now that is the mindset of a beggar.”
“When local infections started to surge in May, the KMT set on to create ‘vaccine panic’ in society. It used emotional blackmail and distortion of facts to cause vaccine fear and anxiety,” Cheng said.
“The KMT also hijacked the agenda by imposing strict conditions on dose amounts, deadlines and the type of vaccine,” he said.
“It aims to force Taiwanese into accepting Chinese-made vaccines. The KMT is playing a two-handed strategy with its distorted mindset and dubious thinking. It is undermining our nation’s fight to contain the outbreak,” he added.
“There is a worldwide shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. Our government is dealing with this crisis effectively; checking with and obtaining doses from Japan and the US, but the KMT uses this opportunity to ridicule Taiwan’s efforts,” Cheng said.
“The KMT should explain to the public why it insists on asking for vaccines from China. What are the reasons behind this?” he asked.
“Is the KMT working to create a vaccine shortage and obstacles for Taiwan? This is an issue caused by the KMT’s tactics, and not a problem caused by President Tsai,” he said.
DPP Legislative Caucus Secretary-General Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that the “beggar” remark shows that the KMT does not want Taiwan to succeed and does not want improvement in Taiwan-US relations.
“The remark came from a high-ranking KMT official and we believe he represents his party,” Lo Chih-cheng said.
“Such remarks show contempt for Taiwan... When we donated masks to other nations, would the recipients be called ‘mask beggars?’” he asked.
“If so, then should other KMT officials, like [former vice president] Lien Chan (連戰), [former Yunlin County commissioner] Chang Jung-wei (張榮味), and [KMT Legislator] Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), who received AstraZenaca jabs, be referred to as vaccine beggars? We call on the KMT chairman to control people inside his party,” he added.
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