Mayor apol­o­gizes for ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’Miao re­marks

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HOULIQIANG in Bei­jing and LI YINGQING in Kun­ming Con­tact the writ­ers at houliqiang@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A mayor in Yun­nan prov­ince apol­o­gized on Sun­day for mak­ing “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” com­ments, after an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found he did not brand China’sMiao eth­nic group “hor­ri­ble”, an al­le­ga­tion which caused wide­spread anger amongMiao peo­ple.

“I didn’t sub­jec­tively in­sult or dis­crim­i­nate against Miao peo­ple, but I think I used in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage and im­proper ex­am­ples, which hurt the feel­ings of the eth­nic group,” said Gong Qing, act­ing mayor ofWen­shan.

“Deeply ashamed, I sin­cerely apol­o­gize to theMiao peo­ple and beg for your un­der­stand­ing and for­give­ness,” he wrote in a let­ter of apol­ogy that was pub­lished on­line.

Ne­ti­zens and Miao com­mu­nity lead­ers called for Gong to apol­o­gize over com­ments he was said to have made on Oct 26 in a meet­ing to dis­cuss a Miao cul­tural-themed park.

Gong re­port­edly said he had been warned that Miao women use sor­cery to en­snare men, ask­ing, “Why should we pro­mote this kind of cul­ture?”

Re­ports of the com­ments “went vi­ral in WeChat groups for Miao peo­ple in Yun­nan, Guizhou and Hu­nan prov­inces and Bei­jing, spark­ing un­prece­dented in­dig­nat i o n ” , ac­cord­ing to a Miao re­search so­ci­ety that re­ported the case to the Yun­nan Eth­nic and Re­li­gious

How­ever, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port pub­lished byWen­shan Zhuang and Miao au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture on Satur­day said Gong made the com­ments about Miao women when the meet­ing was dis­cussing a “witch­craft land” project in the theme park, as “he wor­ried that the project would arouse peo­ple’s mis­un­der­stand­ing of Miao cul­ture”.

The re­port also said there is no solid proof to sup­port ac­cu­sa­tions that Gong said, “Is this some­thing to be proud of?” Af­fairs Com­mis­sion. after say­ing “Miao peo­ple were driven here and to other coun­tries” when he was talk­ing aboutMiao peo­ple’s mi­gra­tion his­tory.

The re­port­was­base­doncon­ver­sa­tions with all par­tic­i­pants of the meet­ing.

It’s the sec­ond re­port pub­lished by theWen­shan Zhuang and Miao au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture on the mat­ter. The first re­port, pub­lished on Oct 31, quoted Gong as say­ing that he was “merely giv­ing sug­ges­tions” and was not in­sult­ing Miao peo­ple, but he didn’t apol­o­gize.

Ex­perts said the mat­ter has re­minded cadres work­ing in re­gions in­hab­ited by eth­nic groups that they should mea­sure their words and be­hav­ior.

“Of­fi­cials should work hard to know the his­tory and cul­ture of eth­nic groups in the re­gions they work in, and speak and act cau­tiously,” said Yang Fuquan, vice-chair­man of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Chi­nese Eth­nol­ogy.

Gong Qing, act­ing mayor of Wen­shan

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