A Democratic Progressive Party legislator threatened yesterday to launch a recall drive against Ilan County Commissioner Lu Kuo-hua (呂國華) if he insists on replacing a popular children's folkgame festival with a new activity.
Chen Chin-de (
Chen's comments came in the wake of Lu's announcement a day earlier that his office would unveil a plan for next year's summer activities at the end of September, which he guaranteed would not be smaller than the existing festival.
Lu, of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), also said that the phrase "children's folkgames" has restricted the event's development.
In response, Chen said that the "children's folkgame festival" is a "brandname" that the county is proud of.
The event should not be closed for good "just because the commissioner is not willing to organize such a big festival," Chen said.
He said that since Lu announced an end to the annual summer festival, there have been increasing protests against the move from the industrial and cultural sectors, as well as on the Internet.
Many Internet users have even joined an online campaign to depose Lu, he said.
Chen said that 127 art and music troupes from 67 countries around the world have performed in the festival since its 1996 inception. So far, it has been visited by more than 5 million people and has generated countless business benefits.
The colorful and festive event is of profound significance in the fields of city diplomacy, economic benefit and cultural arts, Chen said.
Lu explained, however, that heavy losses incurred by the annual festival over the past two years have made it necessary to bring down the curtain on the event for good.
Lu said the two-month festival has created a financial burden of approximately NT$50 million (US$1.5 million) for the county government during each of the last two years despite efforts to curb costs.