Thu, Nov 10, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Hu case reveals a true party-state

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

The following information is taken from an official document entitled "Republic of China Public Service Association Certificate" and it certifies that "Jason Hu (胡志強), born on May 5, 1948, held the positions listed below between Sep. 6, 1975 and Aug. 1, 1985." The agency listed on the certificate is the Republic of China's Public Service Association (中華民國民眾服務總社). Title of Position is listed as Liaison, then Secretary, and finally Party Affairs Supervisor, while Rank and Base Salary are left blank. Date of Employment is stated as Sep. 6, 1975, and Date of Departure is given as Aug. 1, 1985. There is a note stating that "During this period, a pension from [position] or severance pay has not been paid by this agency." The document ends with the date and an official seal.

This document was used by Hu in his application for pension funds. This is interesting, because it involves two issues -- the mutual dependence between the system and political party members, and the conflict between history and reality. Hu is the key to understanding the document, and he is also proof of the party-state's naked exploitation of the public.

The Public Service Association and the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) branch offices established rules and created laws that equated party affairs with public affairs and instructed the Examination Yuan to pass them. Such is the meaning of party-led politics. Looking at the "Interpretations of Ministry of Civil Service Legislation" (銓敘部法規釋利), we can see that the number of years a party member has participated in government work may be certified at the time of retirement. It also says that after May 1948, the number of years devoted to party service shall be verified in a certificate issued by the Public Service Association. This is what is meant by government originating within the party, and it is the legal basis for Hu's conversion of years spent in party service to years spent in government service.

When Hu studied in the UK between 1975 and 1985, he gave his occupation as "party worker." He rose in the ranks from liaison worker to secretary and then party affairs supervisor. His career as a party worker could be used as a KMT example of how to rule the country.

When a legislator revealed that Hu had transformed his years of party service into years of government service, his response was that "After I left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the human resources department submitted a list of all my past duties to the Ministry of Civil Service (MoCS) to determine my pension in accordance with the law," and that "it had nothing to do with individual choice."

This attempt to shirk responsibility is not completely unreasonable. However, the decision whether or not to convert years spent in party service to years spent in government service in order to get a pension under false pretences rests with the individual -- former minister of transportation and communications Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), for example, chose not to do so. Furthermore, a Public Service Association certificate is only issued on application by the individual. No one else can apply for it, nor is it the decision of the MoCS. Instead, the ministry has controlling responsibility. When KMT Vice Chairman Kuan Chong (關中) wanted to go through the same conversion for the period up till May 31, 1999, the application was rejected by the ministry with the explanation that the procedure was only applicable up until January 1987. This shows how Hu's talk about good intent and individual choice are only excuses.

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