Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Presidential Office transfers staffer in Aborigines dispute

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

The Presidential Office yesterday apologized and transferred a presidential staffer accused of being arrogant and rude by a group of Aborigines who were protesting over government seizure of tribal land.

Joseph Chen (陳永豐), director of the Presidential Office’s Department of Public Affairs, apologized for the way public relations official Huang Ta-chun (黃大鈞) had handled a petition presented by the Amis Aborigines late last month.

“Apparently he did not handle the matter with sufficient patience,” Chen said. “However, I’d like to emphasize that our commitment to taking care of Aborigines remains strong and we will do our best to help them.”

Chen said Huang would be transferred to another department and that the Presidential Office would strengthen professional training for officials who handle public petitions.

The Amis Defense Alliance, which organized the rally, accused Huang of being rude and the Presidential Office of lying about their carrying hunting knives when entering the building.

Lee Wen-hsiu (李文秀), a secretary at the Department of Public Affairs who recorded the meeting on Jan. 28, confirmed that the Aborigines removed their knives before they left the demonstration site about 100m to 200m away from the Presidential Office. As such, they were not carrying any knives when they entered the building.

Lee said the office also agreed to reply to the protesters’ demands within a week after the Lunar New Year holiday.

She said the office on Feb. 9 notified the Executive Yuan of the complaint, and the Executive Yuan on Feb. 11 asked the Council of Indigenous Peoples to respond to their request.

Lee said the council would call a meeting and discuss the demands with officials of other departments and representatives of the alliance.

Dozens of Aborigines staged the demonstration in front of the Presidential Office on Jan. 27, accusing the government of repressing and exploiting Aborigines.

They asked the government to apologize for decades of land seizures and to return the tribal land to the Amis.

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