Sunday, March 26, 2017

Retired officials active in China to see pensions cut

Retired officials active in China to see pensions cut

NATIONAL DIGNITY:Retired generals or former deputy ministers could see their monthly pensions cut by at least 30 percent if they visit China without authorization

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Former National Palace Museum director Feng Ming-chu is pictured in Chiayi County on Sept. 9 last year.

Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan yesterday said it is drafting an amendment to cut the pensions of retired high-ranking government officials and military personnel who engage in political activities in China.
The Cabinet is to introduce an amendment to 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) to regulate activities deemed compromising to national security, it said.
The proposal follows controversy caused by retired Taiwanese generals attending a political event in Beijing overseen by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in November last year.
“The draft amendment would ban officials from participating in any political activities in China or engaging in any activity considered damaging to the nation’s dignity, such as paying tribute to Chinese flags or symbols,” Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.
The amendment would impose a minimum three-year travel restriction on retired high-ranking officials and military generals, during which they would have to obtain approval before visiting China, with respective government agencies having the discretion to impose a permanent travel ban on officials having access to government secrets.
The amendment would prevent cases like former National Palace Museum director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) reducing a travel restriction period for retired museum staff from three years to one year just before stepping down, Hsu said.
The bill might also apply to members of intelligence agencies, regardless of their ranks, he added.
After the end of the restriction period, retired generals or higher ranking officials would still be required to submit plans to visit China even though no government approval is needed, he added.
Retired generals or former deputy ministers or high-ranking officials who violate the policy would see their monthly pensions cut by at least 30 percent, or fined between NT$500,000 and NT$3 million (US$16,236 and US$97,418) if they had received a lump-sum payment.
Lower-ranking violators, such as lieutenant generals, would be deprived of 10 to 50 percent of their monthly pensions, or fined between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million if they had received a lump-sum payment, according to the proposal.
“The exact amount and percentage of the cuts have yet to be determined, with some legislators calling for a maximum 100 percent pension cut for top-ranking officials,” Hsu said.
Violators would also be stripped of medals and other awards they had received.

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