In Taiwan, lawmakers threw punches and pig guts at each other on Friday over an upcoming policy change that would ease restrictions on beef and pork imported from the United States.
Premier Su Tseng-chang was set to deliver a report on the matter during a parliamentary session when legislators from Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the opposition Nationalist party, created a stir by dumping bags and buckets of pig organs in his direction.
Pig guts were thrown across Taiwan's parliament on Friday, as fights erupted between lawmakers over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of US pork and beef.#5News pic.twitter.com/9zTA2yMpok
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) November 27, 2020
When representatives from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party tried to stop them, pandemonium ensued. Video of the altercation shows elected leaders brawling as a DPP member wrestled a KMT foe to the ground where swine intestines, hearts, and other body parts were strewn about. KMT aides blew whistles and sounded air horns as parliamentary staffers attempted to restore order. DPP called the protest “disgusting” in a statement, condemning the stunt that it said “stank up” the chamber.
Supporters of KMT traditionally favor close relations with China.
Pig guts and punches hurled during Taiwan parliament row pic.twitter.com/7zNMWmIBOe
— The Independent (@Independent) November 27, 2020
“When you were in the opposition, you were against U.S. pork, now that you’re in power, you’ve become a supporter of U.S. pork,” said Lin Wei-chou, a KMT lawmaker who led the protest group donning black t-shirts that said, “oppose ractopamine-pork.”
Ractopamine is an animal feed additive that has been banned by China and the European Union but is still legal in America. The Nationalist party adopted the issue in an attempt to rally support after losing multiple recent elections.
As The Associated Press reports:
President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration lifted a longstanding ban on imports of U.S. pork and beef in August, in a move seen as one of the first steps toward possibly negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. The ban is due to be lifted in January.
That decision has met with fierce opposition, both from the KMT and individual citizens. The new policy allows imports of pork with acceptable residues of ractopamine, a drug that some farmers add to animal feed that promotes the growth of lean meat.
On Sunday, anti-ractopamine advocates joined an annual labor march to amplify their demand for President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration to reverse its decision.
So, the annual labor protest in Taiwan is happening right now, and (I was told) KMT pretty much hijacked it to be an anti-ractopamine pork and anti-DPP 'one-party' government protest. pic.twitter.com/Vqv6ABWt7S
— Roy Ngerng (@royngerng) November 22, 2020
As The Washington Post reports, brawls and unorthodox tactics are not uncommon in Taiwan’s parliament:
Taiwan has long had a history of cameral chaos as legislators seek to demonstrate to constituents their, well, gutsiness. In 2004, a KMT legislator head-butted William Lai, the current vice president, and jabbed him in the stomach. In 2006, lawmaker Wang Shu-hui from the DPP snatched a written document that proposed direct transportation links to mainland China and tried to swallow it so it would not pass; KMT opponents pulled on her hair to force her to spit it out. Chairs were thrown over a 2017 infrastructure bill.
According to the Post, the premier finished his speech after order was eventually restored on Friday “from an elevated podium, flanked by DPP loyalists in rain jackets.”