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Health official's controversial online post under investigation

The China Post news staff--The Cabinet-level Department of Health is investigating the recent controversial statements made by Shih Wen-yi, deputy director general of the Center for Disease Control on his Facebook page, a top central personnel official said yesterday.

The final resolution on dealing with the case will serve as a precedent for regulating future statements issued by civil servants on the social network, according to Huang Fu-yuan, minister of the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA).

Huang said that Premier Sean Chen has instructed the DGPA to deal with Shih's case to see whether his comments violated the Civil Servants Service Act. Chen told reporters yesterday morning that Shih's case is a legal issue.

In the Facebook post, Shih said that the U.S. didn't grant Taiwan complete visa free privileges, pointing to the fact that Taiwanese nationals still have to register online. The information has been rebutted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which said that online applications for electronic travel authorization is a requirement for U.S. border control and homeland security.

Shih also criticized a proposal by the ruling Kuomintang to allow mainland Chinese students studying in Taiwan to be covered by the national health insurance system. Shih called the plan unfair to Taiwan's taxpayers.

DGPA's Huang said that his agency will respect the investigation results offered by the Department of Health, and will allow Shih to defend his statements.

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