Sat, Apr 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP legislators demand minister resign

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two members of Aboriginal tribes hold up a historic photograph of Japanese soldiers killing Aborigines during a protest outside Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) headquarters yesterday. The protesters demanded that the TSU issue an apology for its recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Backlash over the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) recent trip to a Japanese war memorial continued yesterday in the legislature, with the People First Party (PFP) Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) calling for Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) to step down over recent comments he made supporting the TSU trip.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), however, said he had no plans to replace Tu.

Chin led a group of more than 100 Aboriginals in protests against the trip yesterday outside of the Executive Yuan, TSU's headquarters and the legislature. She said that as a scholar, Tu should step down for saying on Wednesday that he believed the TSU's visit was "just what should have been done."

"During the colonial reign of the Japanese in Taiwan, many Aboriginals were massacred -- during the Mutanse incident (牡丹社事件) and the Wushe Incident (霧社事件). Tu is a scholar of history, yet he has grossly misinterpreted history. He should step down and take responsibility," Chin said as protesters chanted the slogan "Tu Cheng-sheng, step down!"

On Wednesday Tu told the legislature that the TSU was right to visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo and pay respects to the Taiwanese soldiers buried there.

His comments angered Chin, who has led a number of protests against the trip, and PFP legislators, with whom Tu engaged in a shouting match in the legislature on Thursday.

The Wushe Incident occurred in 1930 when over 300 Aboriginals violently protested against Japanese colonial rule.

In the Mutanse Incident of 1874 -- which took place before the Japanese colonial era began in 1895 -- Japan took punitive action against Aboriginals over the murder of Okinawan sailors.

Chin later delivered a letter to Hsieh at the legislature requesting Tu's resignation, saying that the minister's inappropriate remarks damaged the Cabinet's image.

At a press conference yesterday morning the PFP's legislative caucus also called for Tu's resignation, saying that since Tu was one of the most controversial Cabinet members, Hsieh should considering changing education ministers.

"I need to do more research into the conflict Tu had with legislators [on Thursday]," the premier said yesterday. "However, I have no plans to remove Minister Tu before the Cabinet is reshuffled in August."

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