Wed, Jun 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei Aboriginal commission head faces calls to quit

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei City Indigenous Peoples Commission Chairwoman Chen Xiu-hui reacts during a question-and-answer session at Taipei City Council yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taipei city councilors and Atayal Aborigines yesterday demanded that Taipei City Indigenous Peoples Commission Chairwoman Chen Xiu-hui (陳秀惠) step down for allegedly saying that Atayal men shared their wives with distinguished guests during the Japanese colonial era.

Holding up placards reading “ignorant” and “step down,” a dozen Atayal men and women told a news conference that Chen’s remark had stigmatized their tribe.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Fu Chung-wu (李傅中武) said that while teaching a class to cultivate female Aboriginal talent last year, Chen said that, as an act of courtesy, Atayal men often asked their wives to sleep with distinguished guests and that this practice was recorded in history books.

Lee Fu said his own research found that the Atayal have a very conservative culture and promiscuity was severely punished.

He said Chen could not even tell fact from fiction, because when she was asked to provide evidence to substantiate her remarks, Chen quoted a passage from a novel about Aborigines.

“My mother was born seven years before the founding of the Republic of China,” Golden Melody Award-winning Atayal musician Wu Ting-hung (吳廷宏) said. “I have never heard her say that Atayal men treat their guests with their wives. Do you know what we treat our guests with? Cured meat and wine.”

Wu said Chen should restore Atayal Aborigines’ reputation by resigning.

During a question-and-answer session with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) at the Taipei City Council later yesterday, KMT Taipei City Councilor Lee Fan-ju (李芳儒), an Amis, played footage from earlier this month where Chen answered his questions in Amis.

Lee asked Chen at the time whether she had conducted polls that could substantiate her claim that local residents were against the establishment of a performance area dedicated to Aborigines next to the Dadaochen Harbor (大稻埕), saying his conversations with local borough wardens indicated otherwise.

Chen said she read a news report about public opposition to the project, and then made further comments in Amis, angering Lee, who said he only understood half of it.

After consulting with elders in his tribe, he said he found out that Chen’s remark translates into: “Do not frame me through others” or “Do not attempt to murder me and frame someone else for it.”

Lee said Chen was arrogant for making such serious accusations.

He also criticized Chen for downsizing last year’s Naluwan Cultural Festival, Taipei’s most important Aboriginal sporting event, and turning it into a fun fair.

Furthermore, the commission only features 10 Aboriginal languages out of a total of 16 on a Web site promoting Aboriginal languages, he said.

Lee said that if Ko does not fire Chen, he and his colleagues would uncover more gaffes that Chen has made in the past, and Ko would be risking his political career by protecting Chen.

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