Sat, Apr 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hearing collects opinions on cultural act

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A public hearing was held at National Taipei University of Education yesterday to collect opinions about a proposed “basic cultural law.”

The hearing was the first in Taipei and the fifth in a series of hearings scheduled to be held nationwide.

Chou Chih-hung (周志宏), who is a professor at the university and leads the efforts to draft the bill, said the Ministry of Culture hopes that the act will serve as a “cultural constitution” if ratified.

Citing the draft’s article 13 — which states that the central government should foster a “culture economy” by creating a healthy environment for the cultural and creative industry, and promulgate laws to bring about such an environment — Association of Asia-Pacific Arts Promotion standing director Yang Ta-kuan (楊大寬) called on the ministry to focus on cooperatives and workshops established by minority groups.

Citing as an example the workshops run by Aboriginal women making handicrafts, Yang said that the financial well-being of the establishments should be protected by the law.

Deaf and mute people are often neglected as a minority group, said Taoyuan Welfare Association of the Deaf sign language interpreter Chiu Chuei-lu (邱垂祿), who communicated via sign language with the help of an interpreter, adding that deaf and mute people should be listed in the draft bill alongside Aborigines as minority groups requiring special attention.

The draft states that Aborigines’ right to engage in creative endeavors should be protected to ensure that their languages do not become extinct.

Chang Chien-lung (張建隆), founder of the Workshop for Field Research on the History of Tamsui, praised the ministry for proposing an article that requires conducting “cultural impact assessments” — in the same fashion as environmental impact assessments are conducted — to determine whether a property with cultural or historical significance should be demolished to make way for development projects.

However, he took issue with the wording of article 21, which says local governments should “invite locals” to annual meetings to plan cultural policies, as the Chinese phrase has the connotation of welcoming legislators or councilors to the meetings, which could see them using their influence to help businesspeople or developers make profits at the cost of cultural heritage sites.

The phrase should be changed to “invite local cultural or historic workers and civic groups,” Chang said.

The draft seeks to implement a 2 percent annual minimum budget allocation by local governments to promote cultural affairs, New Taipei City-based cultural preservationist Chen Yi-chun (陳宜群) said.

The requirement is too low, especially for lesser administrative divisions with limited budget quotas, he said, suggesting that the minimum be raised to 3 percent.

Cultural preservationist Hsiao Wen-chieh (蕭文杰) called for fair distribution of subsidies granted by the ministry to performance groups.

The ministry doles out large subsidies to well-known groups, while smaller groups have struggled to remain in business, Hsiao said.

“Do we want just one Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in Taiwan, or do we want to see more?” he said, in reference to the famous dance troupe based in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水).

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