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Protest against Ma administration’s lack of action on official who made derogatory remarks against Taiwanese



On 20th March, Taiwan Shadow Government Spokespersons, Chang and Li, Prof. Tsai who was on a hunger strike for referendum law amendment and others gathered outside of GIO to protest against GIO’s action (or the lack of it). They wanted Kuo sacked and Su to step down. These protesters did not appear to be half as aggressive as those who protested against Wu Meng-teh but they were all forced into police cars and taken away[1]. They went back again with more supporters joining them on 21st.[2]


It has been 10 days since Legislator Kuan Bi-ling exposed the link between Kuo, Kuan-ying and Fan, Lan-chin who posted defamatory and racist comments against Taiwanese in about 50 articles. Michael has already covered the background of this case.[3][4] GIO transferred Kuo back to Taiwan first, referring him for disciplinary actions when by law it was well within Su’s power to sack Kuo or hand out official warnings and reprimands. Kuo was then sent back to Toronto to ‘pack’ for which he was given 1 month paid time. If Kuo was not Fan and did not write those articles, why send him to the disciplinary department in the first place? If he was, why let him off lightly?


Dr. Billy Pan has an article explaining how Taiwanese bloggers compared Kuo’s and Fan’s articles over time and match the two individuals before Kuan Bi-ling brought it to the public attention.[5] As soon as the news broke out, Fan’s online articles were all deleted. However, if GIO really wants to find out, they could have looked at Kuo’s hard disc and get official permission to check IP addresses for Fan’s posts.


On Friday, 20th March, GIO Director, Su, said that this should not be ‘blown out of proportion’. This attitude and comment is really not on. In 2002, then Mayor of Kaohsiung, Frank Hsieh offered an apology immediately after a slip of the tongue by Wu Meng-teh, then director of the Public Works Bureau, for saying that the flooding that had hit the city that summer was the result of “there [being] too many Mainlanders (wai-sheng-ren).” What Wu meant was a sudden increase of residents brought about by too many people moving from other counties into Kaohsiung (wai-shen-shih). At the time, DPP councillors were actually the first to condemn this mistake. Wu stepped down to take responsibility (He resigned verbally on the day and formally stepped down within four days). However, the wai-sheng-ren groups were not letting Wu off lightly. Four pan-blue councillors mobilised approximately 500 supporters to protest around the Kuohsiung City Government.


Looking at KMT’s attitude now, Su’s response was that Kuo’s position was protected by laws regulating civil servants. “[The punishment given to] Kuo could have been more severe if Kuo had been a politically appointed official or my personal secretary [rather than a civil servant],” Su added that “if I offered an apology [for the incident] now, it would be tantamount to a conviction for Kuo.” Su said that most of the articles by Fan were written between 2005 and 2007, when the DPP was in power. He said that “I have been reluctant to mention the fact that the articles were written during the DPP government. As I am now GIO minister, I don’t want to implicate [the former DPP government] in the Kuo affair but the case should not be blown out of proportion.[6]


How convenient! The DPP government never discovered this case when they were in charge. The point is that the KMT is in charge now! Su said that he had been ‘reluctant’ to implicate the DPP government. Yeah, right! Tell me something that the Ma/Liu administration hasn’t blamed on the DPP.


Apart from calling Taiwanese ‘rednecks’ and ‘Japanese pirates’, calling himself a high-class mainlander and glorifying KMT’s imposition of martial law and killing, Fan’s articles also contain the most extreme views of the PRC propaganda. One of Michaels’ posts has a link to a summary of all the inflammatory quotes from Fan’s writing.


For example, he expressed that Taiwan is a renegade province of China, not a country and therefore should not have any diplomatic relations with other countries. He equated Taiwanese diplomatic effort as ‘paying prostitutes for sex… When Costa Rica was fed up with sleeping with Taiwan, the payment was intercepted by brokers, Taiwan would just have to carry on being the No. 1 customer around’. Talking about Taiwan’s diplomatic relations again, he used his ‘using prostitutes’ metaphor again and implied that Taiwan could only find those not so refined street prostitutes. So this guy did not only insult Taiwan but also those who have diplomatic ties with Taiwan and yet he works in a diplomatic capacity!


Fan also suggested that Taiwan does not even deserve to ‘return’ to China and that China must use strong military force to ‘liberate Taiwan’ and eliminate all rebels and oppositions. He said that China must show no mercy to the Taiwanese.


If this person really is the one who holds a diplomatic position, what kind of job is he doing? It was also found that a lot of those articles were posted during office hours. Taipei City Councillors, Chien Yuyen and Chen, Chien-ming visited Control Yuan and demanded a full investigation on Kuo. In response to this, a Control Yuan member launched an investigation.[7]


Now, the KMT and pro-China media are all defending Kuo’s ‘freedom of speech’. I have always thought that at least in a democracy, racism has no place in freedom of speech and encouraging hatred and killing is not allowed. It seems that the KMT has a new definition of freedom of speech and only applies to themselves. Why didn’t they defend Wu Meng-teh’s freedom of speech back in 2002?


Kuo initially denied that he wrote those articles except one and claimed that he simply posted articles that were sent to him. He first said that Fan, Lan-chin was a name he shared with other friends online. After all Fan’s articles were deleted, he said he had nothing to do with this name. When asked by journalists about the fact that Fan’s article where he called himself a high class mainlander got posted online first and later on the same article got published in major newspaper in Kuo’s name, Kuo then said that he could not remember clearly or perhaps someone else has used him name.[8] After he got back to Taiwan, when asked about what kind of actions he would face from GIO, he said ‘they can’t shoot me for it, can they?’[9]


In his public apology, he looked defensive and reluctant. He emphasised that he was not apologising for those articles; he was only apologising for causing a disturbance in the society (exactly the same words were used by Diane Lee in her apology for her dual nationality).[10]


So far, Kuo has not been in too much trouble considering what he has done. Ma said that GIO minister’s actions in relation to Kuo were totally appropriate.[11] I really don’t want to think about why Ma and his administration are protecting someone like this, someone promoting PRC views. Someone pointed out that Fan’s articles often appeared on a website managed by Yang-du who is close to Ma. Some wonder whether Ma or his circle is oblivious of Kuo’s views. If they knew, why did they give Kuo a promotion (Kuo was initially on point 9 on Taiwanese civil servant spinal system but was given this position in Toronto which is on point 12 as soon as Ma took office[12])?


I am glad there is a protest and hope they can carry on as Taiwanese have to stand up to this kind of discrimination and double standard. However, some critics worry that Ma may deliberately ignore this issue to make Taiwanese more angry as this will lead to create more street protests, which he can then use as an excuse to justify more police violence and violation on human rights.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. 22/03/2009 13:31

    A great post!

    Incidents like this one make one wonder though, when this bensheng/waisheng-ren divide in Taiwan will be overcome.

    As a “mainlander”, Ma also *could* send some really strong signals here.

    • Claudia Jean permalink*
      22/03/2009 19:04

      Thanks :)

      I don’t know how long it’s going to last but it definitely won’t be sooner if the government doesn’t do the right thing and the society simply ignores it. I believe most people carry on and don’t hold extreme attitudes but there is a certain percentage who overtly or covertly hold those attitudes and behave accordingly.

  2. Scott permalink
    25/03/2009 18:07

    This is a story of Arrogance Almost Beyond Belief…While drawing a handsome salary, which enabled him to settle his family comfortably in North America, he was writing hateful essays –on “company time”– about the very people who were paying his salary. Who was he representing for those 25 years?? Obviouly not the Taiwanese people. He got 25 years of salary for pretending to represent Taiwan. The Taiwanese people were paying for his North American home and his childrens’ education…while he was busy condemning the hard-won democracy and civil society that has come about since the end of martial law. If he hates Taiwan that much, then he should be immediately relieved of his ROC citizenship, and any benefits related to citizenship.


  1. Links 23 March 2009 - David on Formosa

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