Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (
His remarks were "clear discrimination and the worst humiliation possible to indigenous people," Hsieh said. "How can anybody say such a thing to another human being? It was either a slip of the tongue or he is simply prejudiced."
Hsieh made the remarks in response to a comment made by Ma on Dec. 8 in Sindian City (
At a campaigning event, a Sijhou Community woman (溪洲部落) called on Ma to have an embankment built to prevent her community from being relocated.
In response, Ma told the woman: "If you come into the city, you are a Taipei citizen; I see you as a human being ... I will educate you well."
"Aborigines should adjust their mentality -- if you come into the city you have to play by its rules," he said.
Hsieh said Ma had insulted Aborigines and that his comments were similar to telling a gibbon staying at somebody's home that you will treat it as a human being. By saying so, a person is in fact showing they see their guest as a gibbon.
Ma's comments in Sindian drew national attention after an anonymous source sent video footage of the campaign event to the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) on Saturday.
Hsieh yesterday said the issue highlighted the importance of holding a debate with the two presidential candidates, adding that issues concerning Aborigines should be included in the debate.
Hsieh said his view on minority rights is that issues concerning minority groups should not be decided by majority groups alone because the minority will always be the loser when its interests conflict with the majority ethnic group.
Hsieh said his ultimate goal was to amend the Constitution to grant Aborigines autonomy.
Hsieh said he had worked toward that goal during his term as premier, when the Aboriginal Basic Law (
"I have utmost respect for the earliest settlers of this land," he said. "I don't just say it, I take action."
Meanwhile, Hsieh said that although Ma was touting a position on Taiwan's status similar to the DPP's Resolution on Taiwan's Future (
MA TALKS BACK
Ma yesterday denied that his comments about Aborigines were discriminatory and accused the media of distorting his remarks.
"This is apparently a distortion of my remarks. I said that I treated the Aborigines as `our people,'" Ma said yesterday in Miaoli County.
Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) later issued a press release with Ma's Dec. 8 comments in full and said Ma is not prejudiced against Aborigines.
Lo said Ma had told the Sjizhou Community resident that the community should move to a safer place with no threat of flooding and that he promised to take care of the community's members if elected president.