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Ministers hit back at lawmakers in interpellation
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-08 12:01 PM
Mild-mannered Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling showed flashes of anger Wednesday as he faced questioning from an opposition lawmaker in the Legislative Yuan. DPP Legislator Chen Ting-Fei criticized the ministry for the contents of a high school history textbook, saying the government is using classroom materials to "carry out brainwashing education on students." Chen pounded her desk as she complained about Chiang’s responses, exclaiming, "I say one sentence and you come back with ten."

Chiang responded with, "You’re the one who has been brainwashed," and scolded Chen for her theatrics: "You don’t need to pound your desk; it’s poor behavior."

Ma administration officials have generally been restrained and submissive while fielding aggressive questions from legislators in the past. Recently, however, they seem to have reached a limit and decided that they cannot continue to “meet every single demand.” One after another they have chosen to follow the lead of Premier Jiang Yi-huah and engage probing legislators in debates or quarrels when they feel they are being pushed too hard.

On Wednesday Chiang Wei-ling, Minister of Culture Lung-Ying-tai and Minister of Science and Technology Simon Chang were at the Legislative Yuan to present reports on aesthetic education and policies on integrating culture and technology. As the first legislator to take a microphone in addressing the ministers, Chen Ting-fei began with a very personal comment directed at Chiang Wei-ling: "You are not a Taiwanese." To which Chiang quietly replied, "I am a Taiwanese. I am also an ROC national."

Chen then picked up a signboard with information related to a high school history textbook titled "Historical Records and Culture," pointing out that "The Taiwan independence movement could lead Taiwanese society into disorder over its identity.” Chen charged that the material in question had been produced by a KMT think tank and that as Minister of Education, Chiang was simply sitting by idly as the history textbook was being used to "brainwash students."

Chiang retorted that like any textbook, the history textbook had been vetted by the National Institute of Education and met all of the institute’s standards. He fired back at Chen with a stern, "You are the one who brainwashes people, not me."

The two went back and forth for several minutes with accusations and denials until Chiang finally said in exasperation, "It would be very helpful to our interaction if you were a bit more restrained."

Chen fired off several more comments at Chiang, who directed the legislator to "do your homework before you question me, that’s the only way we can have a discussion."

Later in the session DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung Lung asked Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai a question about the Taichung Opera House. Lung brushed aside the query, responding with a brusque, "I am here today to report on policies for integrating culture and technology, please limit your questions to the issue at hand,"

When Lin protested in response, Lung refused to budge, saying "There is nothing wrong with my attitude to the Legislative Yuan."

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