Sun, May 18, 2014 - Page 8 News List

Lu Hsueh-chang must redo his homework

By Steve Wang 王思為

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) has made his disapproval of several academics at Academia Sinica known. Unfortunately for him, Lu seems to have misunderstood one basic fact: From a legal perspective, the Academia Sinica is answerable to the Presidential Office, not, as he says, the president. He should have done his homework, for this would have saved him from being ridiculed over his understanding of the Constitution.

Article 1 of the ROC Office of the President Organization Act (中華民國總統府組織法) states: “The president shall establish the Office of the President in exercise of his/her functions and powers in accordance with the Constitution.” Article 17 of the act states: “Academia Sinica, Academia Historica, and the Management Commission of Dr Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum shall be under the direct administrative supervision of the Office of the President.”

So why do I say that the Academia Sinica is not directly in the president’s service? According to the Constitution, the Office of the President is a “constitutional organ” (憲政機關), the powers of which are stipulated in both Chapter 4 and Additional Article 2. “To determine major policies for national security, the president may establish a national security council and a subsidiary national security bureau. The organization of the said organs shall be stipulated by law.”

In other words, the National Security Council and National Security Bureau are organizations under the president, but the Presidential Office is in fact not an organization under the president. This is Lu’s first mistake: He does not know which organizations are under the president.

The legal basis for the Presidential Office is the ROC Office of the President Organization Act, an act that is subject to the Constitution. Here, the “Presidential Office” is where the president performs constitutional duties and handles national affairs. The office, as a constitutional organ, does not concern itself with the running of the Presidential Office, because management is the responsibility of the secretary-general of the Presidential Office.

As Article 9 of the organization act states: “The Office of the President shall have one secretary-general to the president. The secretary-general shall be a special-grade political appointee and shall, under the direction of the president, take overall charge of the affairs of the Office of the President and direct and supervise all staff.” That being so, the director of the Presidential Office is the secretary-general, not the president. This is Lu’s second mistake.

The ROC Office of the President Organization Act states that Academia Sinica is under the Presidential Office, not the president. Therefore, the supervisor of the Academia Sinica should be the secretary-general of the Presidential Office, not the president.

What is the relationship between Academia Sinica and the president? According to Article 3 of the Organization Act of Academia Sinica (中央研究院組織法), “The President of Academia Sinica, of special appointment rank, is in charge of the overall affairs of Academia Sinica ... Three candidates for the presidency are selected by the Council of Academia Sinica from the academicians, then one is appointed by the president of the ROC.” And the two’s relationship is limited to this only. So Academia Sinica is not under the president at all, and vice versa. The organization is certainly not the president’s academic “staff unit.”

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