Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits.
China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug.
The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February.
Photo: Luo Hsin-chen, Taipei Times
At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday.
This time it was “announced today and banned tomorrow,” intentionally planned for the Mid-Autumn Festival to throw the government into chaos and prevent farmers from enjoying the holiday, the official said.
Beijing’s use of “cruel and crass means to target the most vulnerable” disproves its promise of beneficial integration, the official said, adding that it is obvious retaliation for recent improvements in Taiwan-US relations.
Photo: Huang Ming-tang, Taipei Times
Beijing always waits until Taiwanese crops are about to be in season to unilaterally announce that it has intercepted some sort of pest, using farmers as the scapegoat, DPP Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said.
It is clearly a political attempt to suppress the development of Taiwanese agriculture, he said, decrying Beijing’s “disgraceful” tactic of using agriculture to subjugate the government and businesses to promote unification.
Chuang said he has already urged the government to take immediate countermeasures, including reducing the nation’s reliance on one market.
He also called on the public to use their pocketbooks to support local farmers.
DPP Legislator Wang Mei-hui (王美惠) also called foul, saying that China does not restrict other nations’ fruit imports.
The timing is especially suspicious, considering reports earlier this month that US lawmakers have called for renaming Taiwan’s Washington representative office to include the name “Taiwan,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) called on the government to rectify the problem through concrete action and bilateral dialogue.
Council of Agriculture data show that 90 percent of all exported custard and wax apples go to China, the party said in a statement, adding that action is needed to make sure that “care for farmers” is not reduced to a mere slogan.
Scientific investigators should be sent to China to determine whether pests are present and whether they pose a threat, it said.
This could be achieved through a cross-strait mechanism set up under an earlier KMT administration on agricultural quarantine and inspection, which allows for timely cooperation on emergencies, it added.
Additional reporting by Hsieh Chun-lin
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
The nationwide level 2 COVID-19 alert, which is set to expire on Monday next week, is to be extended, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told reporters before heading to a meeting at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei that the COVID-19 alert level “will not be lowered on November 2,” but he did not say how long the extension would be. Taiwan has been under level 2 alert, the third-highest on the nation’s four-tier scale, since July 27. The CECC yesterday reported eight new COVID-19 infections — six imported