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Mayor apologizes for 'inappropriate' Miao remarks

By Hou Liqiang in Beijing and Li Yingqing in Kunming | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-07 08:04

A mayor in Yunnan province apologized on Sunday for making "inappropriate" comments, after an investigation found he did not brand China's Miao ethnic group "horrible", an allegation which caused widespread anger among Miao 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 of Wenshan.

"Deeply ashamed, I sincerely apologize to the Miao 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.

Mayor apologizes for 'inappropriate' Miao remarks

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 indignation", according to a Miao research society that reported the case to the Yunnan Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission.

However, an investigation report published by Wenshan 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?" after saying "Miao people were driven here and to other countries" when he was talking about Miao people's migration history.

The report was based on conversations with all participants of the meeting.

It's the second report published by the Wenshan 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.

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