Sat, Mar 24, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Rights groups want Chang to apologize

NO REGRETS:PFP Legislator Chang Show-foong yesterday refused to apologize for the remarks she made on foreign spouses, saying ‘a few sentences’ were taken out of context

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

A member of a human rights group holds up a sign at a protest outside the legislature in Taipei yesterday, urging People First Party Legislator Chang Show-foong to apologize for urging Taiwanese men to refrain from marrying foreign women.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Human rights groups yesterday staged a protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, urging People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chang Show-foong (張曉風) to apologize for the remarks on marriages she made on Thursday.

However, Chang refused to apologize, insisting that she had said nothing wrong.

Holding signs asking both Chang and the PFP caucus to apologize, representatives from several rights groups — including the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), TransAsia Sisters Association Taiwan (TASAT), Awakening Foundation, Gender/Sexuality Rights Association Taiwan and Taiwan International Family Association (TIFA) — protested against remarks Chang made during a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee on Thursday.

During the meeting, Chang suggested that the government should provide aid to women who “should have married, but have not” and urged Taiwanese men to refrain from marrying foreign women, since “when one more man marries a foreign woman, that’s one less opportunity for one local woman to get married.”

She said Taiwanese men have chosen to marry women from Southeast Asia, probably because “foreign brides are easier to control and they don’t even make a sound when they are beaten.”

Chang even referred to unmarried women in the country as shengnu (剩女) — literarily, “leftover women.”

Ministry of the Interior officials who were at the meeting were quick to disagree with Chang, and her remarks drew fire from civic groups and the public.

“I think Chang is full of gender and racial discrimination,” said TASAT executive secretary Yadrung Sata (邱雅青), who immigrated from Thailand more than a decade ago after marrying a Taiwanese man.

“Immigrant spouses are not ‘goods’ that can be ‘imported’ — we deserve respect,” she said.

TIFA board member Liu Chuan (柳川), whose wife is from Cambodia, also disagreed with Chang.

“My ex-wife died at a young age and I raised my children on my own,” he said. “I met my [current] wife when I was traveling in Cambodia. We’ve been married for 13 years and I have a happy family now.”

“Marrying a wife from another country is my right and it is nobody else’s business,” he added.

Responding to the protests, Chang said she talked for 10 minutes during the meeting on Thursday and that the groups “should not take a few sentences out of context and lash out at me.”

“I was speaking for the 460,000 women who are in the [prime] age for marriage, but have not married, and I was blaming Taiwanese men for not marrying them,” she said.

“Immigrant spouses are part of the family when they are married in Taiwan, and I have no objection to the government providing assistance to them. What I was saying was that the government should also allocate resources for unmarried Taiwanese women,” she said.

“There’s no need for me to apologize,” she added.

Meanwhile, PFP caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said the PFP stands absolutely behind immigrant spouses.

“In fact, we will soon propose law revisions to speed up the naturalization process for immigrant spouses,” he said.

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