Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Clenbuterol: The Chen Administration's Dirty Little Secret

Clenbuterol: The Chen Administration's Dirty Little Secret
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 13, 2012

Summary: Some people insist on "zero clenbuterol and ractopamine." They see the Democratic Progressive Party say one thing while doing another. They think about all the meat they have eaten, and shudder. Some DPP leaders are still lambasting the Ma administration, accusing it of "selling out Taiwan." They need to take a hard look at the Chen administration's duplicity and capriciousness, then offer the public an explanation.

Full Text below:

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) recently revealed that the Chen administration made a commitment to the U.S. government to establish standards for clenbuterol and ractopamine content, not the Ma administration. On August 16, 2007, the Chen administration informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it would announce its standards for clenbuterol and ractopamine content, effective August 22. So why did the Chen administration renege on its commitment only a few days later?

The answer lies in the events of August 21. On that day, during Chen Shui-bian's visit to diplomatic allies, he transited the US. But Washington allowed him into the US for only 90 minutes, and only in far-flung Alaska. His humiliation turned to apoplexy. Not one member of his entourage deplaned.

Insiders say this was Chen Shui-bian's ninth visit during his term of office. Yet Washington still refused him permission to transit the continental United States. Then suddenly, just days before his trip, he agreed to allow US beef imports containing clenbuterol and ractopamine. His condition was that the US would permit him to transit major cities in the continental United States. But Washington only allowed him to transit Alaska, and limited his time to 50 to 90 minutes. At first Chen Shui-bian tried to laugh this humiliating treatment off. But his humiliation soon turned to apoplexy. This led to the Alaskan mini-drama of refusing to deplane, as a gesture of protest. Needless to say, Chen reneged on his commitment to the WTO regarding clenbuterol and ractopamine.

The Democratic Progressive Party has been lambasting the Ma administration for the past several days, accusing it of "selling out Taiwan" and "selling out our citizens' health." But recall how the Chen Shui-bian administration dealt with U.S. beef imports. Recall its crude opportunism and unprincipled flip-flopping. That is why the current administration finds itself in such an embarrassing quandary regarding U.S. beef imports. So many of the current administration's problems are messes left over by its predecessor, the Chen administration. Chen Shui-bian's decision to allow the importation of US beef containing clenbuterol or ractopamine depended solely on whether Washington would extend him the diplomatic courtesy of transiting the continental United States -- one time. Then, when Chen's personal whims were frustrated, he could shred a commitment to the WTO overnight. Under the circumstances, what right does the DPP have talk about integrity and legitimacy?

The DPP's dirty little secret does not end there. Why did Taipei impose a total ban on clenbuterol and ractopamine? In 2006 people on the Mainland died as a result of ingesting food containing clenbuterol and ractopamine. The Chen regime wanted to show that Taiwan's food safety standards were superior to the Mainland's. It vowed to apply "the most stringent standards ever." Therefore in October of that year, Council of Agriculture Chairman Su Jia-chyuan issued an order banning all such additives. The source of the problem on the Mainland was the more toxic clenbuterol. But the Chen regime was already on its high horse. The less toxic ractopamine, the only additive permitted in the US, was also banned.

In other words, between 2006 and 2008, under Chen administration rule, the public was eating clenbutuerol and ractopamine treated beef. The irony is that although the Chen administration made a big to do of totally banning clenbuterol and ractopamine, its bark was worse than its bite. In response to pressure from the U.S. government, it refrained from subjecting meat imports to rigorous inspection, In July 2007, Kaohsiung Customs seized a large quantity of US pork containing ractopamine. This led to a public outcry. Only then did the government tighten inspections and conduct investigations. Only then did the Chen administration reveal that it was merely going through the motions.

Chen Shui-bian traded clenbuterol imports for transit privileges. Chen administration officials yielded to diplomatic pressure. it looked the other way when inspecting US meat imports. It used the U.S. beef imports issue as a bargaining chip in a political game. Yet the DPP still boasts that it is "looking after the public health." It still pointedly avoids talking about how it conducted inspections of US meat imports.

Even more staggering is how Chen Shui-bian unilaterally shredded his commitment to the United States and the WTO. He boasted that by banning clenbuterol and ractopamine, he was "loving the people, caring for the people." To cope with both internal and external pressures, he renewed his commitment to the United States, then secretly deceived the Taiwan public by going through the motions while inspecting US meats. According to former Health Department Director Yaung Chi-liang, this charade continued until 2010. Under the Ma administration the responsibility for meat inspection was transferred to a different agency. The government began checking for Illegal use of clenbuterol by domestic pig farmers. Only then did customs agents resume testing of US beef for clenbuterol and ractopamine. A few years ago, no one on Taiwan knew U.S. beef contained clenbuterol or ractopamine. Only when the events of last year unfolded in swift succession, did the public become aware of the Chen administration's dirty little secret,

In other words, under DPP rule, prior to the 2006 Chen Shui-bian administration ban, the public was ingesting meat treated with clenbuterol and ractopamine. Following the 2006 ban, the Chen administration never actually inspected US meats for clenbuterol and ractopamine. It merely went through the motions. While the Chen Shui-bian administration twiddled its thumbs, the people of Taiwan were ingesting clenbuterol and ractopamine treated beef and pork, in amounts hard to estimate. The Chen administration prohibited the import of meat treated with clenbuterol and ractopamine. Then when the time came to inspect meat imports for clenbuterol and ractopamine, the Chen administration merely went through the motions. The Chen administration was intentionally negligent and duplicitous. It treated clenbuterol and ractopamine as a bargaining chip a game of political intrigue.

Some people insist on "zero clenbuterol and ractopamine." They see the Democratic Progressive Party say one thing while doing another. They think about all the meat they have eaten, and shudder. Some DPP leaders are still lambasting the Ma administration, accusing it of "selling out Taiwan." They need to take a hard look at the Chen administration's duplicity and capriciousness, then offer the public an explanation.

2012.03.13 03:01 am











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