Unfortunately, China is offering Taiwan a nation to be a part of and the U.S. is only offering Taiwan more colonization without a chance for independence. The U.S. uses Taiwan as a jumping point to exploit all of Asia outsourcing sweatshops for American corporations and its capitalist cronies.The policy of the U.S. towards Taiwan hasn't changed since WW II where their planes killed more citizens than Japanese. Besides ignoring the murder of thousands of Taiwan intellectuals by the KMT proxies on 2-28-47, the U.S. stationed military here in the world record longest martial law dictatorship until '79, introduced neo-liberal two party false democracy without promoting workers unions so that salaries have been stagnant here for 18 years while Chinese workers' salaries have caught up
Donald Trump risks China rift with Taiwan call
First US-Taiwanese presidential contact since diplomatic relations were cut in 1979
First US-Taiwanese presidential contact since diplomatic relations were cut in 1979Donald Trump risks opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated after speaking on the telephone on Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan.
The call, confirmed by four people, is believed to be the first between a US president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between the two were cut in 1979.
Although it is not clear if the Trumptransition team intended the conversation to signal a broader change in US policy towards Taiwan, the call is likely to infuriate Beijing which regards the island as a renegade province.
The US has adopted the so-called One China policy since 1972 after the Nixon-Mao meetings and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter formally recognised Beijing as the sole government of China, with the US embassy closing in Taipei the year after.
The Trump team did not initially respond to multiple requests for comment but, after the Financial Times first published news of the call, confirmed that the president-elect had spoken with Ms Tsai and “noted the close economic, political, and security ties” between Taiwan and the United States.
A US official said that the Trump transition team did not inform the Obama administration in advance of making the call.
“The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions,” said Evan Medeiros, former Asia director at the White House national security council, who now heads Asia research at Eurasia Group.
The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions
“Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations.”
Douglas Paal, who as head of the American Institute in Taiwan from 2002 to 2006 was the de facto US ambassador, said that he was not aware of any such telephone calls between US and Taiwanese presidents since 1979.
He said that the call was probably designed to quash speculation in Taipei that a Trump administration would make further concessions on the status of Taiwan to China as it attempts to redefine US relations with Beijing.
“There is no indication so far that a Trump administration would change US policy towards Taiwan,” said Mr Paal, who also held senior positions in the Reagan and George HW Bush White Houses.
Ned Price, the White House National Security Council spokesman, said on Friday evening there was “no change to our longstanding policy on cross-Strait issues”.
“We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy based on the three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” said Mr Price. “Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations.”
Dennis Wilder, former top White House Asia adviser during the George W Bush administration, said: “It would be a mistake for Beijing and others to over-interpret the meaning of a phone call between president-elect Trump and the president of Taiwan.”
He said that Mr Trump was “not steeped in the diplomatic history of US-China relations and probably has not been briefed by the Department of State on the US-China understandings on our unofficial ties to Taiwan.” He added: “We are in uncharted territory with Trump foreign policy, and nations should give him some latitude as he forms his foreign policy team.”
The call with Ms Tsai is not the first controversy that Mr Trump has courted with his conversations with world leaders since the election.
The Philippines government said on Friday that Mr Trump had invited the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, to visit the White House next year during a call between the two men.
Since taking office earlier this year, Mr Duterte has threatened to tear up major parts of the military alliance with the US, and a meeting with Barack Obama at a summit earlier this year was cancelled after he called the American president a “son of a whore”. The Trump transition team confirmed the call on Friday evening but made no mention of an invitation to Washington.
In a readout provided by the Pakistani government of a call between Mr Trump and prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the president-elect called the country “amazing” and “fantastic” and appeared to suggest that he might visit Pakistan, remarks which caused consternation in some quarters in India.
The state department said that it had not helped organise the Philippines or Pakistan calls and had not provided any advice ahead of the conversations.
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CAUTIOUS:Despite the monthly decline, the jobless rate increased slightly from a year earlier, reflecting a conservative hiring policy, the DGBAS said in a report
By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter
The nation’s unemployment rate last month dropped to 3.95 percent, down 0.04 percentage points from September, as more recent graduates found jobs amid an economic recovery, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
The jobless rate this month might decline further if the economy continues to improve, encouraging businesses to increase staff numbers, the DGBAS said in a report, adding that TransAsia Airways Corp’s (復興航空) decision to dissolve the company might affect the job market after the closure comes into effect.
“Unemployment eased last month as the local job market recovered from the entry of fresh graduates,” DGBAS senior executive officer Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) said.
After seasonal adjustments, the unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent, down 0.03 percentage points from the previous month, the DGBAS said.
The number of unemployed people last month fell by 5,000 from a month earlier to 464,000, while the number of first-time job seekers dropped by 3,000 in the same period, it said.
Fewer people last month lost their jobs owing to business closures, downsizing or temporary hiring compared with the previous month, the DGBAS said.
Despite the monthly improvement, the jobless rate slightly increased compared with a year earlier, reflecting a conservative hiring policy on the part of businesses, it said.
For the first 10 months of this year, the unemployment rate stood at 3.94 percent, up 0.18 percentage points from the same period a year earlier, the DGBAS said.
Unemployment was highest among people who have university degrees or higher at 4.91 percent, followed by people with college diplomas at 4.28 percent, it added.
The jobless rate stood at 3.91 percent for people with high-school diplomas and at 3.05 percent for people with at most a junior-high school education, it said.
The jobless rate was highest for people in the 15-to-24 age bracket at 12.44 percent, followed by the 25-to-29 age group at 6.79 percent, the DGBAS said.
People aged between 45 and 64 had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.12 percent, it said.
The figures show that young Taiwanese with college education had more difficulty finding jobs compared with other groups, it added.
In related news, monthly take-home wages averaged NT$39,135 (US$1,225) in September, an increase of 0.99 percent from a year earlier, the DGBAS said in a separate report.
The average monthly wage, including bonuses and other compensation, was NT$45,205 in September, an increase of 1 percent from a year earlier, the report showed.
In the first nine months of the year, take-home wages rose 1.33 percent to an average of NT$39,144 per month, while average salaries fell 0.24 percent to NT$50,097, as companies distributed fewer bonuses, the report said.
IN DENIAL:When people unable to book tickets with TransAsia began to suspect serious problems, the airline at first refused to admit it was planning to suspend flights
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Aircraft stand outside a TransAsia Airways hangar at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) yesterday.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday confirmed that TransAsia Airways (復興航空) is to suspend services for one day today, adding that the airline could be fined up to NT$3 million (US$93,750) for halting flights without seeking prior approval.
CAA Deputy Director-General Fang Chih-wen (方志文) said that the administration had not known that TransAsia planned to suspend services until it received a telephone call from the airline yesterday afternoon, adding that the company had not submitted an application requesting the cessation.
The company also did not explain during the phone conversation with the administration why it had taken the decision, he said.
This is probably the first time that a domestic airline has halted flights without the CAA’s approval, he said, adding that the company has contravened the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法).
“We have officially notified the airline that it needs to address the situation, or it will be fined between NT$600,000 and NT$3 million,” he said, adding that the airline has also been told to properly handle the refunds of tickets for today’s flights.
Agency statistics show that TransAsia’s unexpected move is estimated to affect more than 5,000 passengers on 56 domestic flights, 12 international flights and 16 cross-strait flights.
Far Eastern Air Transport (遠航) also suspended flights to Cambodia without giving notification, the agency said.
The Tourism Bureau said that TransAsia’s move would affect 3,000 tour group travelers, both those scheduled to return home and those planning to travel abroad.
The CAA official met with the representatives of other Taiwanese airlines yesterday to request their assistance in taking on passengers previously booked to fly with TransAsia, Fang said.
Asked whether TransAsia’s suspension of services would continue, Fang said that it would depend on the results of a board meeting today.
TransAsia yesterday morning at first denied public suspicions that it would suspend services, following multiple reports from members of the public that they were unable to book tickets with the airline, saying its ticketing system was not working.
Founded in 1951, TransAsia has been struggling to stay in the black after two crashes, in July 2014 and February last year.
The company is estimated to have paid close to NT$1.2 billion in settlements to the victims of those accidents and their families.
TransAsia in August announced that its subsidiary, low-cost carrier V Air (威航), would suspend operations from Oct. 4 through Oct. 3 next year.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange approved TransAsia’s request to suspend share trading ahead of material information disclosure.
TranAsia would need to complete an application and approval procedures to resume trading, the exchange said.
The bourse fined the company NT$1 million for breaking rules governing material information disclosure after it canceled a news conference scheduled for yesterday evening and instead issued a statement.
TransAsia shares yesterday fell 7.14 percent to NT$5.2 in Taipei trading, with the sell-off quickening in pace toward noon. Turnover surged to 10.74 million shares, compared with 398,000 shares in the previous session.
TransAsia shuts down
COMPANY CRASHES:The firm’s chairman blamed the declining number of Chinese visitors, rising fuel prices and a strengthening US dollar for its steep losses
By Ted Chen and Chen Wei-han / Staff reporters
Left to right, TransAsia Airways chief executive officer Liu Tung-ming, chairman Vincent Lin and spokesman Liu Chung-chi bow at a news conference in Taipei yesterday as they apologize for the company’s collapse.
TransAsia Airways (復興航空) yesterday said it is to dissolve the company after its attempts to keep it afloat failed.
The company looked at options, including a sale, restructuring and capital injections, during three meetings between its board of directors and industry experts, TransAsia Airways chief executive officer Liu Tung-ming (劉東明) told a news conference at the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
“Despite our best efforts to devise a new business model, the company could not produce an effective turnaround plan to repair its deteriorating finances,” Liu said.
The airline said it is unable to repay US$75 million in European convertible bonds due on Tuesday next week.
The company’s net worth was estimated at about NT$5.44 billion (US$170.29 million), or a book value of NT$7.17 per share, as of the end of last month, TransAsia vice president Chen I-chieh (陳逸潔) said.
The airline operated 27 routes in Taiwan, China and the rest of Asia, each representing about a third of total sales, Chen said.
In the first three quarters, the company racked up losses of NT$2.2 billion, Liu said.
TransAsia chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) blamed the declining number of Chinese visitors, as well as rising fuel prices and a strengthening US dollar, for the company’s steep losses.
TransAsia’s load factor had fallen to about 60 percent, which was well below its domestic peers’ and unsustainable, Lin said.
TransAsia shares are to resume trading today following yesterday’s suspension, but trading would be conducted on a full-cash delivery basis, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said.
At a news conference held jointly with the heads of government agencies yesterday, the Cabinet said that the impact of the airline’s closure would be limited and the company has enough cash to refund customers and cover severance pay.
An estimated 100,000 travelers are affected by the unexpected folding of the nation’s first commercial airline, but other carriers have capacity to take on passengers booked to fly with TransAsia as it is the off-season, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Air Transport Division director Han Chen-hua (韓振華) said.
TransAsia has created a trust fund to ensure that customers get a full refund on booked flights, and the company will not dismiss ticketing and customer service staff until Dec. 20, so that they can assist in the transfer of passengers to other airlines, the firm said.
The CAA formed a special task force immediately after TransAsia announced a temporary suspension of operations on Monday to ensure that travelers’ rights are protected, Fan said.
The CAA is to impose a fine of between NT$600,000 and NT$3 million on TransAsia for halting flights without seeking prior approval.
The CAA has conducted regular financial inspections on TransAsia, and the company still holds more than NT$1 billion in cash and is not facing an immediate financial crisis, Han said.
TransAsia has 1,735 employees and they are covered by labor insurance, while there is NT$310 million in the company’s pension fund account, Deputy Minister of Labor Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) said.
“The money is more than enough to pay employees’ pensions and the remaining amount can be used to cover severance pay,” Kuo said.
The FSC and prosecutors have launched an inspection into possible insider trading in the company’s shares, and it has yet to be determined whether company executives were involved, commission vice chairman Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧) said.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange on Aug. 15 listed TransAsia as financially unstable, to warn investors of the risk involved in trading the company’s shares, Huang said.
Campaigners for labor rights stage morning protests
By Cheng Hung-ta and Su Fang-ho / Staff reporters
Several youth groups yesterday protest outside the Presidential Office Building against the government’s proposal to abolish seven national holidays.
Protests were staged early yesterday morning outside the president’s residence and the Presidential Office Building by a group of young labor rights campaigners upset by the government’s proposal to cut seven national holidays.
The protests came just hours after a marathon 13-hour review session at the Legislative Yuan on Thursday that lasted until 10pm before proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) were sent on to the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committe.
Labor groups staged a sit-in for about an hour outside President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) residence before moving to near the Presidential Office Building.
They called on Tsai to stop the amendments that would reduce national holidays from clearing the legislature.
Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the proposed amendments are being processed in the legislature and different views are to be respected.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s proposed amendments to the Labor Standards Act call for reducing number of national holidays from 19 to 12 and “one flexible rest day and one fixed day off” every seven days, which are to accommodate the change from the schedule of 84 working hours over a two-week period to a 40-hour workweek passed during former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
Labor groups and opposition parties are against the reduced holidays and the “one flexible rest day and one fixed day off” proposals, saying “rest days” could easily be used by the employers as extra working days because they are not like “fixed days off,” which under current regulations do not allow working except for circumstances such as natural disasters and emergencies.
The amendments would lead to an increase in total working hours, they say.
The committee resolved to have most of the amendments discussed in additional cross-caucus negotiations before being put on the legislative floor agenda for final readings.
The New Power Party (NPP), which had insisted on “two fixed days off” every seven days, on Thursday altered its motion to propose allowing working rest days with better overtime pay and guaranteed overtime compensatory leave.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers continued to insist on “two fixed days off,” while Minister of Labor Kuo Fong-yu (郭芳煜) said that the “one rest day and one day off” system would be more flexible than the “two fixed days off” schedule.
Motions to amend Article 37 concerning the number of holidays were also sent for negotiations, but at the request of KMT lawmakers, the committee conducted a vote, with seven DPP lawmakers voting for a reduction while three KMT lawmakers and one NPP lawmaker were against it.
Other motions that need cross-caucus negotiations include one to increase the penalties for employers’ violations such as failing to pay minimum wage and overworking employees, which were deemed too lenient to deter employers from choosing to pay fines instead of abiding by the law.
A few amendments were passed without further negotiations, including a resolution that workers should be granted at least a full 11-hour rest period between shifts.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) on late Thursday said that he expects the amendments, including those that require cross-caucus negotiations, to clear the legislative floor before the end of the year.
TSAI TRIPS URGED:The former president said that he did not know much about the ‘new southbound policy,’ but said Tsai Ing-wen should visit nations in the region
By Chang Mao-sen, Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporters in Tokyo and Taipei, with staff writer
A copy of yesterday’s edition of the Sankei Shimbun, which features an interview with former president Lee Teng-hui, is pictured in Tokyo yesterday.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration lacks courage and decisiveness, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said in an exclusive interview with Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, in which he presented his views on international politics and cross-strait affairs.
The interview was published by the newspaper in Tokyo yesterday.
Lee said that while US intentions for the region remain unclear with US president-elect Donald Trump to take office in January, it is clear that should Trump implement isolationist policies, Japan’s role in regional politics would lend more weight to Tokyo’s decisions.
This highlights the importance of Taiwan-Japan cooperation and the “need to strengthen Taiwan-Japan ties,” Lee said.
Lee said he has not changed his stance on cross-strait affairs that “Taiwan is Taiwan and China is China; Taiwan is not Chinese territory,” adding that Tsai’s steady dip in popular support is in part due to the “distance” between her administration’s cross-strait policies that still maintain the “status quo” and the cross-strait policy that Taiwanese want.
Lee said he expects that the Tsai administration will “incrementally lead the nation to normalization” and understand that its governance “must handle whatever may happen [between Taiwan and] China.”
Lee said that “a leader’s most important qualities are courage and decisiveness,” and that the Tsai administration’s problems with judicial, pension and labor reform were because of a lack of these qualities.
Lee said he did not know much about the “new southbound policy,” but said that it is important for Tsai to visit the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and other Southeast Asian nations and make known what Taiwan has to offer.
Lee said that Tsai lacks people in the government who can “truly help her,” adding that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was “a complex amalgamation of factions and families” that might make policy implementation difficult.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) could only parrot the “one China” principle when she visited China and she dared say nothing else, which is a sign that the KMT is struggling to regain its status and the party might find it impossible to survive, Lee said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that Lee had done much to help Taiwan to become the modern and liberal nation it is and the Tsai administration is grateful for the suggestions he made.
The government will be pushing for multiple reforms in the hope of living up to Taiwanese expectations, Huang said.
Meanwhile, a DPP source said that Lee had not taken into consideration changes in the political environment, adding that the current situation is not like the transition away from authoritarian governance.
Important policies, such as pension and judicial reform, affect people’s rights, as well as industrial and social structures, the source said, adding that nothing can be done without communication.
Lee spokesman Wang Yan-chun (王燕軍) said that some news outlets might have taken the former president’s comments out of context.
Lee has been a long-time supporter of Tsai and has said that “criticism will not help; those with the wherewithal should actively help her,” Wang said.
According to Wang, Lee said that Tsai should be more straightforward about policies and not influenced by popularity polls.
The Tsai administration would not have simultaneously addressed so many issues that have led to confrontation if it did not intend to act, Wang said, adding that the government must follow through with its ambitions.
BCC given three months to return two FM frequencies
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Taiwan Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) has been given three months to hand back to the government two FM frequencies, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.
The BCC’s Formosa Network (寶島網) and i-Radio Network (音樂網) have been used to counter Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
Their frequencies are now to be used for two new national networks, one for Hakka speakers and one for the Aborigines, which will be run by the Hakka Affairs Council and the Indigenous People Cultural Foundation respectively, commission spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.
BCC will still be the largest radio broadcast in the nation, with one nationwide FM network and two AM networks to reach its listeners nationwide, Wong said.
When BCC chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), a former Chinese Nationalist Party and New Party politician and former president of UFO Radio, acquired the BCC in 2007, he promised to return the two frequencies to the government once it had reassigned them for other uses, Wong said.
That condition was met when the Executive Yuan on Aug. 16 said the frequencies would be used to build a national Hakka-language network and one dedicated to the nation’s Aborigines, he said.
BCC now has three months to adjust its program lineup, reshuffle the personnel who work for the Formosa and i-Radio networks and inform its listeners of the changes, he said.
The commission has already issued permits to the council and the foundation, which are expected to spend three to six months organizing their stations, Wong said.
The Executive Yuan has suggested that the council and the foundation share facilities with other state-run stations, including the Police Radio Station and the National Education Station.
Andy Hsieh (謝煥乾), director of the council’s Department of Legal Affairs, said Jaw was informed several times last year and this year that he needed to prepare for the return of the two frequencies.
Although the commission had approved the BCC’s license renewal application on June 30, it included a conditional clause reserving the right to cancel the licenses for the Formosa and i-Radio networks, Hsieh said.
The BCC on July 27 filed an appeal of the clause with the Executive Yuan, but the Executive Yuan’s appeal department is very likely to rule in favor of NCC, Hsieh said.
NCC Department of Broadcasting and Contents Director Huang Ching-yi (黃金益) said the commission has consulted experts who said that based on the UN Declarations on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law (原住民族基本法) and Hakka Basic Act (客家基本法), the government has not been allocating sufficient cultural resources for Hakka and Aborigines.
“Experts said that the government should be in sync with the other nations in its efforts to preserve the languages of minorities. The Hakkas have five distinct dialects and there are 16 Aboriginal communities in Taiwan,” Huang said. “The Aborigines, in particular, have only oral language and do not have written languages. Television networks dedicated to the broadcast of the Aboriginal languages are not enough when it comes to preservation of the languages. Radio stations could go further in preserving these languages, as evidenced by the radio stations in Australia and New Zealand.”
NCC defends stripping BCC of two frequencies
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday defended its decision to ask the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) to return two FM radio frequencies, saying the BCC had promised to return the frequencies and is not using them in the public’s interest.
The commission on Wednesday announced that the BCC had three months to return the nationwide frequencies used by Formosa Network (寶島網) and i-Radio Network (音樂網).
The government no longer supports blocking the broadcast of Chinese propaganda, so it wants the frequencies back, which the BCC had promised to do, the commission said.
BCC chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) has repeatedly been told that he should be ready to return the two frequencies once they were reassigned, and when the BCC’s operating license was renewed on June 30, a clause was inserted reserving the right to cancel the licenses for the Formosa and i-Radio networks, the commission said.
The frequencies are to be used for two new national radio networks, one for Hakka speakers and the other for Aborigines, the commission said.
The BCC late on Wednesday night issued a statement calling the commission’s demand an example of “political persecution” targeting media outlets that have different political views from the government.
The commission is using the ruling to suppress press freedom and broadcasting rights, the BCC said.
The Executive Yuan’s appeal committee ruled in favor of the company in 2010 when it canceled a similar conditional clause in the license renewal application for that year, the broadcaster said.
The 2010 conditional clause had created uncertainty about the BCC’s operations and reduced the actual benefits gained from having its license renewed, it said.
Yet the commission has disrespected the appeal committee’s decision by attaching a conditional clause to this year’s company’s license renewal application, the BCC said, calling the move evidence of outright contempt and a violation of administrative principles.
The BCC said it was the only one of the 23 stations allocated frequencies to block communist propaganda from China, including Police Radio Station, Taipei Broadcasting Station, Kaohsiung Broadcasting Station, International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) and Fu Hsing Broadcasting Station, to be told it must hand the frequencies back.
The government should first evaluate how all these frequencies have been used before deciding which ones should be returned, it said.
The government’s plan to release a new batch of radio licenses shows the nation still has frequencies to build new stations for Hakka speakers and for Aborigines, the company said.
The commission has disregarded the Executive Yuan’s authority in reviewing the appeal, as the Executive Yuan’s appeal committee is still reviewing an appeal request the company filed on June 27, the BCC said.
It said it would legally defend its networks.
The commission yesterday issued a detailed response, saying the decision to take back the two frequencies was made when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in office and was aimed at helping Hakkas and Aborigines preserve their cultures and has nothing to do with press freedom.
The BCC was the only private radio station given frequencies that could be used to block Chinese propaganda; the others, including ICRT, are either state-run or serve public interests, the commission said.
“It has been almost 10 years since the company promised to return the frequency. It should already have a withdrawal mechanism in place, and it is really inappropriate to resist the administrative order through spurious reasons,” the commission said.
‘CHILLING EFFECT’:China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the DPP administration was ‘oppressing’ Taiwanese attending cross-straits events in an effort to cool relations
By Jason Pan / Staff reporter
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang addresses a routine news conference in Beijing yesterday.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday proposed an amendment that would cancel pensions for retired civil servants and military personnel who participate in political activities in China, as more details emerged about former military officers attending an event in Beijing last week that featured a policy address by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
The amendment would revoke pensions for retired military officers engaging in political activities in China, as their behavior could imperil national security and seriously erode the morale and loyalty of active-service personnel, DPP legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said at a news conference.
Seven retired generals, 12 former lieutenant generals and 18 retired major generals attended the event in Beijing commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), Chen said, citing information provided by the National Security Bureau.
The updated figure was greater than the list of 32 retired officers provided two days ago, which included retired lieutenant general Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷), and former generals Wang Wen-hsieh (王文燮) and Hsia Ying-chou (夏瀛洲), he added.
“These retired high-ranking officers have violated provisions of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) against engaging in political activities in China,” Chen said.
“We have asked the Ministry of National Defense and the Mainland Affairs Council to investigate whether these retired officers have participated in similar events and whether the Chinese government provided them with subsidies, which could include travel expenses, meals and accommodation,” he added.
A recently released video of the event — at which Xi delivered a speech warning against Taiwanese “separatism” — shows the retired officers standing at attention and singing the Chinese national anthem along with Chinese political and military elites, Chuang said.
“We must deal with this matter now by cutting off their pensions,” Chuang said. “The image of these retired generals singing the Chinese national anthem are painful to all Taiwanese and is demoralizing to troops who are protecting the nation.”
The act prohibits individuals, organizations and registered foundations from engaging in any cooperative or political activity organized by Chinese officials, organizations or military personnel, Chuang said.
“The law currently only allows for a fine as punishment, so we will work toward amending regulations to cancel retirement pay for violators,” he added.
When asked to comment at a routine news conference in Beijing yesterday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said some DPP members are stalwart supporters of Taiwanese independence and have sought to incite hostility and confrontation across the Taiwan Strait through political means.
“The DPP administration’s oppression of Taiwanese attending cross-strait events is clearly designed to have a chilling effect on cross-strait relations,” Ma said.
DPP spokesman David Huang (黃適卓) later issued a statement rejecting Ma’s criticism, saying: “The conduct of retired military officers, who gave no consideration to their special status and took part in a Chinese Communist Party event promoting unification, is unacceptable to the public, especially as they stood at attention during the playing of the Chinese national anthem.”
“How is [public disgust with their conduct] a chilling effect?” Huang asked.
It is imperative that soldiers, including retired military personnel, remain loyal to the nation and protect national security,” he added.