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October, 25, 2016

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Taipei cultural affairs head tenders resignation: reports

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In another personnel shake-up, the head of the Department of Cultural Affairs under the Taipei City Government has reportedly tendered her resignation, although such reports were denied by the city government after they erupted online Monday evening.

Hsieh Pei-ni (謝佩霓), director of the department, has reportedly handed her resignation to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and will leave her post on Friday, Oct. 21. But city government spokesman Lin He-ming declined to confirm the reports, saying that the government "has no comment on any report on top-personnel changes."

Lin said the Hsieh-headed department of cultural affairs just successfully hosted the Nuit Blanche 2016 in Taipei to boost the international profile of the capital city, and is actively handling the World Design Capital Taipei 2016, which runs from Oct. 13-30 at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.

"There is no new top personnel shake-up for the moment, and all related tasks are being carried out as usual," Lin stressed.

But some city councilors told news media that Hsieh didn't take the initiative to quit; instead, she was asked by Mayor Ko to step down by Oct. 21 at the latest. "Ko had talked with Hsieh and set Oct. 21 as the deadline for her leaving," a councilor said.

Hsieh assumed the post on Feb. 1 of this year, replacing Ni Chung-hua, who quit on Jan. 14.

If leaving on Oct. 21 as reported, Hsieh would be the 16th senior city official to quit since Ko took office in late December 2014.

Just one month earlier, Taipei's education chief Tang Chih-min tendered his resignation on Sept. 20, one day after Yang Fang-ling, head of the city's department of legal affairs, quit, sending shock waves through political circles in Taipei.

In a later interview, Tang denied speculation that he had decided to resign because he disagreed with the mayor's decision to reinstate Hsiao Hsiao-ling, a junior high school music teacher who was dismissed nine years ago, allegedly due to her opposition to one of the policies of then-mayor Hau Lung-bin.

Yao Lin-ming, Ko's campaign manager and Yang's husband, also said that Hsiao's case was the last straw for his wife, who maintained that there was no legal basis for Ko's decision to reinstate Hsiao.

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