Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je got himself involved in another mess with a remark that Taiwan has "imported" 300K brides. The Taipei Times reports:
Dozens of members of Taipei’s New Female Immigrant Care Association yesterday staged a protest outside city hall to demand an apology from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) over his recent off-the-cuff remark describing the foreign spouses of Taiwanese men as “imported foreign brides.”The focus on the word "import", which is very commonly used in this situation in which a nation brings people in, including brides...
“I came from China and have been married with a Taiwanese man for 14 years. There are more than 480,000 immigrants in Taiwan. We are human beings, not some products for sale,” association executive secretary Li Xia (李霞) said as she led the protest, which consisted of women like her from
- Trouble and Strife: Taiwan's Imported Brides
- AFP 2010: Imported Brides Popular As Money Mixes Asian Marriages
- AIT sex trafficking report 2006: "Care for the estimated larger number of foreign victims of labor trafficking, domestic servitude, or sex trafficking among Southeast Asian contract laborers and imported "brides" remained uneven."
- All across Asia, bridegrooms are increasingly importing their brides from overseas... (same article) "China, a country that suffers a striking shortage of brides in its own right because of the lack of girl babies, is nonetheless the largest exporter of brides...
- Academic paper: "Taiwan is one of the earliest East Asian countries importing foreign brides – the share of foreign brides in South Korea today is about at the level that Taiwan reached in 1997"
- China Post 2004: "Taiwan to import brides as female birth rate keeps falling in Taiwan"
- Government publication 2005: "The number of imported brides in Taiwan has been growing"
- Government publication 2005: "One of the main reasons so many men import wives from abroad"
- Government publication 2003: "more and more "import brides" became Taiwan's latest immigrants,..."
- Weekly World News 1996. Ok, that's just for fun.
- AmCham says Taiwan must "import talent"
I'll stop. Anyone with Google skills can find numerous examples of the term "import" used with various words representing human beings. Just google the term "import workers", for example. Nothing is meant by that; economic framing helps explain key issues of supply, demand, and social effects.
So to return to Ko Wen-je above, note that the bride organization with the long name appeared backed by two KMT city councilors, then called on the DPP to join them. The anti-DPP framing here makes it obvious what is going on -- the KMT has old links to the foreign bride organizations (note that the leader of the organization is Chinese), and simply saw this as a moment to invent a gaffe and attack Ko. Ko himself knew exactly what was going on:
Asked if he wanted to apologize for his comments, Ko said he said that he had said many things at the forum, but only two words were taken out of context and then put under the magnifying glass.Ko is so refreshing precisely because he has not yet learned to treat his every word as potentially abused by malice driven responses, unlike many veteran politicians in Taiwan. It will be a sad day when he has to lose that authenticity...
“I am confused and troubled by this kind of social phenomena,” Ko said.
“If we believe someone does not harbor malice toward a subject, then there is no need to blow it out of proportion,” Ko said, but added that he would correct any mistakes that he made.
UPDATE: Some claim the term is not used that way in Mandarin. Hogwash. A Google search from March of 2000 to March of 2014 turns up multiple usages in reports, scholarly papers, media, translations, and online forums. For 進口外配 a similar search turns up numerous usages in similar contexts.
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