Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) yesterday apologized for a comic strip designed to promote an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China after it drew the ire of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Yiin said there had been no intention to discriminate against anyone after Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said a character in the cartoon mocked people from Tainan.
Saying that he was born in Tainan, Yiin called on people “who harbor ulterior motives” to stop turning the matter into an ethnic issue.
“The [controversy] should stop here. I hope that political figures will not blow the issue out of proportion,” Yiin said.
In the comic strip, Yi-ge (一哥), a Hoklo speaker from Tainan, is described as knowing little about the ECFA or economic matters. He is said to be a salesman.
He has a vocational school education, speaks “Taiwanese Mandarin” and is usually content to follow others. But when it comes to protecting himself, he “goes all out.” The profile says he is the kind of person who talks tough but never takes action.
In contrast, a female Hakka character named Fa-sao (發嫂) is active, self-motivated and highly capable. Her profile says she has a thirst for knowledge and knows what the ECFA is about.
Yiin said the ministry would review the process it used to create promotional material.
He said that ministry officials in charge of promotional material added the background to Yi-ge at the last moment to “brighten up” the comic strip and did not take the matter to superiors for approval before doing so.