The Premier Tried to Speak. Then Came the Pig Guts

'Disgusting' Taiwan protest was in response to allowance of US pork imports with ractopamine
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2020 7:01 AM CST
Pushback on Pork Leads to Pig Guts in Parliament
In this image made from video, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang holds a microphone as opposition party lawmakers block his attempt to speak during a parliament session in Taipei on Friday.   (FTV via AP)

It's not out of the ordinary for fights to break out in Taiwan's parliament, but Friday's brawl was more stomach-turning than usual. As Premier Su Tseng-chang tried to answer questions during a session of the Legislative Yuan, punches flew and members of the Kuomintang (KMT) opposition party flung pig guts his way, all while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party pleaded to get back to "rational debate," the BBC reports. The commotion revolved around an August decision by President Tsai Ing-wen to, starting Jan. 1, allow Taiwan to import from the US pork containing ractopamine. It's an additive put into animal feed to speed up weight gain and promote leanness in livestock. But the drug is banned or restricted in 160 countries—including in Taiwan, China, and EU nations—riling both the KMT and the general public and leading to recent protests on the streets of Taiwan on food safety.

The KMT has been stymieing Su during parliamentary sessions since September over this, and on Friday, members of the DPP tried to ensure he could finally deliver a policy report, surrounding him as he entered to the noise of KMT members blowing whistles and blaring air horns, Reuters reports. As Su attempted to speak, the pig intestines started flying, and what Reuters describes as a "short but vicious encounter" broke out between KMT lawmakers and one member of the small Taiwan Statebuilding Party. The AP notes a KMT lawmaker was also wrestled to the floor by a DPP legislator. While the DPP called the ruckus a "disgusting" one that "stank up" the place, the KMT said they had no choice. "In order to protect people's health and protect the bottom line of food safety, the opposition party cannot but resist," the group said, per Reuters. (More Taiwan stories.)

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