Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Hakka activists decry prejudice in legislature

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Representatives and organizations from the Hakka community gathered yesterday calling for Hakka rights in response to an incident last week, when a legislator criticized Council of Hakka Affairs Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) for using the Hakka language to give a report.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝) called Lee's report in Hakka a "self-abasing action" showing a "lack of confidence."

According to Peter Lo (羅能平), the secretary-general of the Taiwanese Hakka Association of the World, Chu's comment indicated that many Taiwanese politicians do not respect different ethnic groups and minorities.

"Chu's comment was disrespectful and degrading to the Hakka people, and we want her to give an open apology to our people," Lo said.

Yang Chang-chen (楊長鎮), director of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Department of Ethnic Affairs, spoke of the discrimination he had received as a schoolboy for speaking Hakka, adding that Mandarin should not be imposed on everybody.

Yang said the opposition paid lip service to diversity, but in reality practiced "fake" diversity and imposed a "cultural quarantine," in which Hakka rights were suppressed.

The department is pushing to establish a language equality law, and has encouraged Aboriginal legislators to give their official reports in their mother languages.

Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) said that the Legislative Yuan had "no class," and that politicians were causing racial segregation and discrimination in Taiwan.

"The Legislative Yuan should be respectful and love all ethnic groups and minorities," Lin said.

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