Issue Date: May 7, 2012
Formosa Sues Taiwan Professor, Incites Academics
More than 700 academics, mostly from Taiwan, have signed a petition demanding that Formosa Plastics Group abort a $1.4 million defamation lawsuit against Ben-jei Tsuang, a professor of environmental engineering at Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University. Among Tsuang’s supporters is Yuan T. Lee, the 1986 Chemistry Nobel Laureate. Formosa is suing Tsuang because of research he conducted showing that emissions from its Mailiao petrochemical complex in central Taiwan were increasing the incidence of cancer among nearby residents. The academics contend that Formosa is mounting an attack on academic freedom. Tsuang presented his findings in October 2010 at hearings held by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration to review the environmental impact of the complex. Formosa claims that Tsuang’s assertions are groundless because the data on which he based his research do not exist. Tsuang, 49, joined Chung Hsing in 1991, soon after he earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering at UCLA.
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