TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After a charter jet ostensibly meant to evacuate Taiwanese businessmen from Wuhan was found to have a person onboard infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), as well as many foreign passengers, netizens on Thursday (Feb. 6) started sharing a meme mocking the bungled rescue effort as a Trojan horse.
On Monday (Feb. 3), Communist China finally allowed over 200 Taiwanese businessmen to board a chartered China Eastern jet that landed in Taoyuan later that evening. Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) told the media on Tuesday (Feb. 4) that three of the 247 passengers on the jet possibly had symptoms of the disease.
One person had a fever, while the other two had sore throats, and all three were immediately transported to isolation wards. Shedding tears as he announced the results, Chen said that a nasopharynx swab test revealed the patient with a fever had indeed contracted the disease.
Many Taiwanese became outraged after news broke on Tuesday that many of the passengers aboard the jet, expressly arranged to evacuate Taiwanese businesspeople stranded in Wuhan, were actually Chinese spouses and non-Taiwanese citizens. Some Taiwanese businessmen allege that Hsu Cheng-wen (徐正文), the head of the Parents Association in Taipei and member of the Kuomintang (KMT) Central Committee, who was involved in arranging the first charter flight, and the Chinese officials he worked with, did not place a priority on passengers who were in urgent need, favoring relatives and children instead.
Hsu claimed that although some of them are Chinese citizens, they are already applying for Taiwanese citizenship, while their children are Taiwan citizens, and that "they could not just leave [the wives] behind."
Despite the fact that the Lunar Year Year holiday had been winding down by the time they applied to fly to Taiwan, he said, "Wouldn't you want to go to home? Wouldn't you want to return home for Lunar New Year? They couldn't return home for Lunar New Year, and now they are being stigmatized. Isn't it pitiful?"
On the SET TV political commentary show "Just Want to Complain" (94要客訴), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilman Wang Shih-Cheng (王世堅) said that TV news should stop broadcasting video of Hsu crying. He said that as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Hsu should instead cry to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In response to the revelations that sick passengers as well as dozens of non-Taiwanese had been allowed to board the plane, netizens began sharing a meme with a Trojan horse at the gates of Taiwan. In the illustration, a massive wooden horse on wheels is labeled as "Taiwanese businessmen charter jet."
Inside the belly of the horse can be seen Trojan soldiers in full armor with spears marked as "Wuhan coronavirus." Dragging the huge horse is a man identified as (Hsu Cheng-wen), who is greeted at the gate by a man in a suit with the words Kuomintang (KMT) superimposed on top of him.
(Illustration based on Trojan horse meme template)