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Thursday, November 3, 2016, 12:30

Mayor says comments not meant to offend

By Hou Liqiang in Beijing and Li Yingqing in Kunming

Mayor says comments not meant to offend
An ethnic Miao woman carries a baby as she walks during a celebration parade on the Miao's New Year's Day in Leishan county, Southeast China's Guizhou province, Nov 25, 2012. ( Photo / Agencies)

A mayor in Yunnan province has denied that he branded the Miao ethnic group "horrible" and described its culture as "witchcraft".

Netizens and community leaders have called for Gong Qing, acting mayor of Wenshan, to apologize over comments he is said to have made in a meeting on Oct 26 to discuss a theme park featuring Miao culture.

The remarks "went viral in WeChat groups for Miao people in Yunnan, Guizhou and Hunan provinces and Beijing, sparking unprecedented indignation", according to an email from a Miao research society to the Yunnan Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission that was shared with China Daily on Tuesday.

Gong was also accused of saying he had been warned that Miao women use sorcery to ensnare men, and had asked, "Why should we promote this kind of culture?"

The government of the Wenshan Zhuang and Miao autonomous prefecture has launched an investigation into the matter. A statement released via, a news portal affiliated with the local authority, quoted Gong as saying that he has "merely been giving suggestions" and was not insulting Miao people.

Officials leading the probe have talked with the 20 people present at the meeting, four of whom confirmed that they had heard Gong's remarks, according to the statement. It added: "One of them said the remarks were made during a discussion and were not intended to insult or discriminate. The other three refused to comment."

The ethnic affairs commission said on Tuesday that, if Gong were found to have violated the law, "we will urge the prefecture government to deal with the matter according to the law, regulations and disciplines".

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