The government is insisting it’s not trying to ban incense burning

The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — With a religious group gearing up to take to the streets, the central government scrambled Thursday to rebut a rumor that it wanted to prohibit the use of incense.

The Ministry of the Interior said Thursday that there were no plans to prohibit the use of incense, the burning of joss paper or the practice of other religious customs.

Religious groups, in response to a rumor of the ban circulating online, had said they would congregate on Ketagalan Boulevard on Sunday to protest the government’s disrespect for their rites.

At the Democratic Progressive Party headquarters on Wednesday, President Tsai Ing-wen had reportedly censured the Ministry of the Interior for failing to deny the claim.

“Why didn’t see the head of the Ministry of the Interior come out to address the rumor?” she said, according to reports.

Tsai Horng-der (蔡鴻德) of the Environmental Protection Administration said the government was only seeking to cut back on joss paper and incense burning, not to wipe out the tradition.

Studies show that burning incense and joss paper produces air pollutants, including harmful PM 2.5, Tsai said, while emphasizing that the government would strike a balance between religious rites and environmental protection.