Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taipei City criticized over Deaflympics memorabilia

Source Link - Taipei City criticized over Deaflympics memorabilia

PUBLIC SAFETY: A city councilor said products at two souvenir shops had not undergone safety inspections, and cellphone straps tested positive for excessive lead

Products for Deaflympics souvenir shops were not put through safety inspections, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor said yesterday, accusing the city government of damaging the nation’s reputation.

The organizing committee for the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei has opened two souvenir shops at Taipei City Hall and Taipei Dome to promote the upcoming sports event.

However, most of the products — including stuffed toys, key chains and puzzles — did not undergo safety inspections and are not labeled with their place of origin, material or instructions, DPP Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi said.

Tree-frog shaped Taipei cellphone straps tested positive for excessive lead, Hung said, adding that the city government had ignored public safety.

Sun Huai-hsuan , marketing director at the contractor Artsource said it was “impossible for the company to confirm whether all of the more than 100 products underwent inspections.”

“[Opening] an MRT line usually helps improve the city government’s approval ratings ... But the Neihu Line has brought public disapproval.”

— Lee Chien-chang, Taipei City councilor

Later yesterday, Deaflympics organizing committee director Emile Sheng showed reporters a document to prove that some products had passed safety inspections.

Sheng said that the cellphone straps were not intended for children and were therefore not required to undergo safety tests.

However, the committee will have the straps tested for lead and pull the product off shelves until the test results come back, he said.

“Consumers who are still concerned about the safety of the straps can take them back to the stores and get a refund,” he said.

Meanwhile, a poll by Taipei’s Research & Development Evaluation Commission found that 89.6 percent of respondents knew about the Deaflympics and 26.8 percent said they would like to attend.

The survey polled 1,029 Taipei residents between July 20 and July 22.

City councilors said the city government had failed to stir public interest about the Deaflympics and had focused its promotional efforts on arranging entertainment shows and concerts that would only shift attention away from the event.

“The city government has failed to inspire Taipei residents to attend the events. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s administration should think about how to get residents excited about the sports event,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Huang Hsiang-chun said.

In response, Taipei City Government Spokesperson Chao Hsin-ping said the city government would step up efforts to promote the Deaflympics, which will be held from Sept. 5 to Sept. 15.