Taipei – Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod announced Thursday that Taiwan’s first national indigenous peoples museum will be built in Kaohsiung’s Chengcing Lake area.
Other members of a committee tasked to pick the site said that Kaohsiung is chosen for its location as a hub linking the high indigenous population areas of Pingtung, Taitung and Tainan, its natural environment and its ability to facilitate international and local academic exchange, and more.
Kaohsiung is replacing New Taipei City, the location picked by the previous government in February 2016, as the home of the museum. Minister Icyang Parod explained that the change was made because the previous government had agreed to give the decision rights concerning the museum to the new administration and that lawmakers had proposed to restart the selection process.
A committee member added that the Kaohsiung site was also chosen because of its larger size.
The announcement was met with debates and criticisms. Several local governments had been vying to take the museum home. New Taipei City government said that its proposed site has an absolute advantage that “can endure the test of fire” and that the reversal is unfair to the citizens in New Taipei as well as to all indigenous peoples in Taiwan.
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also expressed his regret over his city’s defeat in the selection, pointing out that Taoyuan is home to a quarter of Taiwan’s urban indigenous population and that its proposed site is close to the airport metro station.
DPP Lawmaker Su Chiao-hui criticized the selection process as a “farce” for its lack of efficiency and called the pick “unacceptable” as Kaohsiung trails behind New Taipei, Hualien, Taitung, Taoyuan and Pingtung in terms of its ratio of indigenous citizens. •
The China Post staff