TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A number of popular foreign YouTubers have jumped on the bandwagon to support Taiwan's cause amid a Chinese ban on its pineapples.
On Feb. 26, Beijing announced it would ban all imports of Taiwanese pineapples, alleging that “harmful organisms” had been found in the fruit. The move prompted Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吴朝燮) to launch a "Freedom Pineapple" campaign on Twitter.
Japanese media reported that Taiwan is being "bullied" over its pineapple exports, and many outraged Japanese have vowed to buy Taiwanese pineapples to show their support. Over the weekend, what Taiwanese media described as "Taiwanese pineapple fever " spread across Japan.
Since the ban was put in place, many foreign YouTubers living in Taiwan have also weighed in on the fruit fracas. South African YouTuber Nathan Kactor of the channel "This is Taiwan" on March 1 said China's "harmful organisms" claim is dubious given the fact that 99.79 percent of pineapples shipped to China had passed inspections, with remaining pests easily killed by fumigation.
He said that because 95 percent of Taiwan's pineapple exports normally go to China, the ban would hurt not only farmers but many others involved in the pineapple industry, such as farmworkers and equipment suppliers. Kactor criticized China for not first consulting with Taiwan before suddenly imposing the ban, which he described as an "incredibly unfair and unprofessional thing to do."
Kactor noted that the ban appeared to be timed just as pineapple season was getting underway in Taiwan. He called on the public to support the farmers by buying locally grown pineapples.
In a video titled "You can insult me, but don't attack Taiwan's pineapples" released on March 5, a professor who goes by the handle Justin said he has been a vegetarian for 27 years and has many dietary limitations but has eaten Taiwanese pineapples for years without any problems. He considers Taiwanese pineapples to be the best in the world and said there are two kinds of people: "Those who have eaten Taiwanese pineapples and those who haven't."
He claimed he eats pineapples every day and that he has many recipes that include the fruit. One such recipe, which he boasts "would feel like your mouth entered paradise," consists of blending diced pineapple, "rotten" guava, water, and lemon.
On March 4, British YouTuber Robert Jackson, who goes by the handle 大丰大哥大, called on readers to buy Taiwan-grown pineapples to support the nation's farmers. He said that even for those who do not like raw pineapples, there are many ways to prepare them.
As he stuffed his face with pineapple chunks, he grabbed a blender, added pineapple and milk, and blended it. He then presented the finished "pineapple milk," which he quickly guzzled on camera.
Jackson pointed out that buying locally supports local farmers and is environmentally better since it cuts out transportation from other countries. He observed that it is also a healthy fruit and called on everyone to join together in support of Taiwan's farmers.
On March 3, a British YouTuber who goes by the handle Allan said that China’s ban on pineapples is yet another example of how China thinks it “can bully other countries around the world.” He countered the claim that over 90 percent of all pineapples grown in Taiwan are exported to China.
He said that based on his research, of the 420,000 tons of pineapples produced in Taiwan on average, 45,621 tons are exported. Of this, about 41,667 tons are shipped to China, which he calculated means what about 8 to 9 percent of the total pineapple crop is exported to the communist country.
He found Beijing's claim to have found mealybugs to be baseless and that the timing to announce it just as peak pineapple production was starting to “all be a little bit suspicious to me.” He pointed out that Taiwan had in the past shared its pineapple technology with China and now that its growers have gotten their own farming process “up to a passable standard, they then ban their own citizens from having the choice of between Taiwan’s sweet, delicious pineapples or their homegrown offering.”
He said that one of the biggest problems he has with China in this case and in general is that they “punish their own people by completely taking away their choice.” He then quipped, “I guess that’s what any good dictatorship would do.”