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Maine governor mocks Chinese investor’s name

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Gov. Paul LePage spoke at a Jan. 8 news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine. LePage is being accused of racial insensitivity over a joke about a Chinese investor’s name.

LEWISTON, Maine » Maine Gov. Paul LePage is being accused of racial insensitivity over a joke about a Chinese investor’s name.

The man’s first name is Chiu — pronounced “choo.” When LePage mentioned him Thursday at a Lewiston business breakfast, the Republican governor pronounced it with an emphatic fake sneeze. LePage smiled, and many at the luncheon laughed.

The governor’s office said today that the investor is Chiu Feng Chuan, chairman of a Chinese firm that’s investing in U.S. paper mills, including one in Baileyville, Maine. The governor’s office says they have an “excellent relationship.”

Not everyone was amused by the joke. Cindy Han is a board member of the Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine. She told the Portland Press Herald that the episode shows LePage is “tone deaf” on race.

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