Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Education body’s meeting marred by shouting match

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature’s Education and Culture Committee meeting was brought to a standstill yesterday after Minister of Education Wu Ching-chi (吳清基) infuriated Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators by referring to lawmakers on the committee as lingdao (領導), a term used in China to address high-ranking officials.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), who was the first to question Wu in yesterday’s meeting, refused to address Wu as “minister,” instead calling him “Mr Wu.”

After she referred to Wu as “the People’s Republic of China’s minister of education based in Taiwan,” the head of the committee, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), started shouting at Kuan.

A shouting match between the two legislators followed, culminating in Hung suspending the meeting and storming out of the conference room.

“Legislators should respect Taiwan’s sovereignty instead of belittling themselves,” Hung told the committee after she returned and reconvened the session.

However, Kuan still refused to address Wu as “minister.” The minister then promised not to use the term lingdao again.

Kuan also accused the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and the Ministry of Education of breaking the law after the NIA passed a regulation allowing Chinese spouses’ children from former marriages to register at Taiwanese high schools without passing local entrance examinations.

She said a resolution the legislature passed on June 5 stipulated only that the government should amend legislation to resolve residency issues faced by children from China.

Wu replied that the ministry would not suspend the policy.

The minister said that the Chinese students’ applications would not necessarily be accepted by schools, and added that Taiwanese students’ rights would not be compromised.

“The [Chinese spouses’] children [from former marriages] are innocent. We need to take care of them,” Wu said.

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