Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chou warned on immigrant jibe


Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) yesterday said he had issued a verbal warning to his deputy over a remark interpreted as derogatory toward foreign spouses.

"Vice Minister Chou Tsan-te (周燦德) publicly apologized on Monday. I have also verbally warned him that he should be mindful [of his remarks] in future," Tu said.

Last week, Chou spoke of the "low quality" of immigrants at a national education conference, adding that such people should limit the number of children they have.

The remark infuriated immigrant communities and a human-rights group, which protested in front of the Ministry of Education on Monday morning. The groups said that Chou's comments were racist.

On Monday night, after Chou issued a press release apologizing for his comments, the Cabinet said that the remark did not conform with his responsibilities and that the ministry ought to deal with the matter quickly.

Chou said he had been trying to bring public attention to the issues of adjustment and education facing foreign spouses and their children without any intention of discriminating against them.

Tu yesterday dismissed as rumor a report that the Cabinet had asked him to look for a replacement for Chou.

"We should be rational and focus on how to help immigrants integrate into Taiwanese society," he said.

Tu also commended Chou for his efforts in assisting immigrants.

"As an administrative vice minister, Chou has monitored the administrations of the departments of social education and elementary education. He has been dedicated in his help to foreign brides. I think his remark was unintentional," Tu said.

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