Recording shows Taipei mayor used the Chinese term for colonisation in interview

Recording shows Taipei mayor used the Chinese term for colonisation in interview
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je.

TAIPEI - Taiwan - American bi-monthly journal Foreign Policy yesterday released the recording of its interview with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), confirming once and for all that the mayor did indeed use the Chinese term for colonisation.

In the journal's Web article published on Jan. 29, writer Grace Tsoi wrote that during an interview with Foreign Policy on Jan. 20, Ko had said "the longer the colonisation, the more advanced a place is," as a response to the journal's question on Asian history and colonisation.

After receiving widespread media attention, Ko claimed that he was misquoted. One of the magazine's senior editors, David Wertime, stepped forward to defend the accuracy of the article following Ko's claims.

Taipei City Government spokesperson Lin Ho-ming (林鶴明) also said Monday afternoon that Ko had misspoken during the interview. The mayor himself later admitted to making a mistake in the interview during a public appearance the same night.

Yesterday, Foreign Policy took to their website to make public the mayor's controversial response. The audio recording featured Ko in a 1-minute-17-second excerpt, where the mayor spoke predominantly in Mandarin, and proved that Ko did indeed used the term "colonisation" in the interview.

Ko Responds to Mistake

During his routine post-municipal meeting press conference yesterday, Ko reiterated the fact that he had failed to elaborate on his comment during the interview. Ko was quoted as saying, "I was wrong, I said the wrong thing," to reporters yesterday.

The mayor went on to convey the point he had intended to make during the interview. He said that he had meant to address the duration of interaction with a Western civilization when he was talking about the cultivation of a civilization and the cultural standard of a country. Ko went on to add that democracy, political freedom, constitutionality and human rights were all created by Western civilizations.

In response to media speculation that Ko was deliberately aiming to shirk away from his responsibility by claiming that the mistake was an error in translation, the mayor stressed that he had thought the mistake was in the translation, but later realised that it was he who made the mistake.

Criticism from China Newspaper

Local media also took the chance to ask the mayor for his response to criticism from mainland Chinese media toward his "two countries, one system," and "colonisation" statements.

Reportedly, mainland China's Global Times (環球時報) newspaper not only blasted the mayor but also went on to advocate boycotts of the upcoming Taipei-Shanghai City Forum and the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade (臺北世界大學運動會).

In response, Ko said he believes that a true country with power needs to hear and pay attention to different opinions.

Ko said that the Global Times does not represent anyone or any group, which is why he has no reason to hold their statement in high regard or believe that the newspaper speaks on behalf of the Chinese government.

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