Lawmakers across party lines yesterday grilled Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Minister Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香), saying she had failed to achieve anything since taking office in May. Chang, however, defended herself, saying she was doing a good job and working hard.
“It seems like your major policy objective is about creating and protecting employment opportunities for Aborigines. But what about pushing for Aboriginal autonomy as President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] promised during the presidential campaign?” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) asked Chang after listening to her report at an Internal Administration Committee meeting yesterday.
Chang spent most of the time talking about improving infrastructure in Aboriginal regions and creating employment, and only briefly mentioned that autonomy bills “are still waiting to go through the legislative process.”
In response to Wong, Chang said that “autonomy is the dream of all Aborigines,” but did not give a timeline for when the council would submit any bills on autonomy. “Autonomy is a very complicated issue, and we need to listen more to public opinion and conduct more research on it.”
Wong was not satisfied with Chang’s answer, nor was Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明), of thePaiwan tribe, who expressed disappointment at her report.
KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉), of the Sediq tribe, panned Chang for not defending Aboriginal rights.
“In January, activists staged a protest outside CIP headquarters and threw eggs at the council. It was the first time I ever saw anyone throw eggs at the CIP. Also, 30 Aboriginal township mayors held up banners to protest your presence at a conference at Alishan (阿里山),” Kung said. “Don’t you think there is a gap between what the council does and what people want?”
Kung was referring to a demonstration by about 200 Aborigines from around Taiwan outside the CIP to protest the council’s reluctance in helping Aborigines who had been prosecuted for using their traditional land as permitted by the Aboriginal Basic Act (原住民族基本法).
He also referred to a demonstration by Aboriginal township mayors earlier this month to demand equal subsidies for forest conservation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal townships.
“I did nothing wrong. You should first see if their demands were reasonable,” Chang said. “If they have any questions, they can always [ask legislators] to tell me during [legislative] committee meetings.”
Kung was also unhappy that the CIP had not submitted any bills to the legislature for review, to which Chang replied that the council was working on several bills.
“[Being the CIP head] is not an easy job, and I’ve worked hard at it,” Chang said.
In related news, the Cabinet yesterday approved an amendment to the National Park Act (國家公園法) that calls for Aboriginal areas designated as national parks to be managed with respect for the traditional culture and lifestyle of Aborigines.
This amendment would allow Aborigines to conduct rituals, burn grass and trees, set fires for soil preparation, hunt wild animals, pick wild plants and fungi, and conduct other practices forbidden in national parks to perform their cultural activities.
They would however be required to obtain permission in advance from related governmental agencies, it said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn