Lawmakers yesterday asked the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) to remove officials who “disgraced the nation” last month when they reportedly met with Chinese officials at a gala to promote the unification of Taiwan and China.
Former OCAC minister Wu Ying-yih (吳英毅), OCAC members Wang Wei (王維) and Chou Shem-mong (周賢孟) and nine other council advisers on May 25 led a group of Taiwanese-Americans to China to meet with Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) Deputy Director Tan Tianxing (譚天星), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers told a news conference yesterday.
The meeting, attended by Taiwan Benevolent Association of America (全美台灣同鄉聯誼會) members, was featured on Chinese government Web sites, with Tan telling the visitors that “a complete unification of the motherland is a shared hope of Chinese people in China and overseas.”
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“When the nation is in a life-and-death struggle diplomatically, they are seeing eye to eye” with China, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said.
The nine OCAC advisers are working in non-paid, honorary positions at the council, Lo said.
Wang and Chou, who are based in the US, were subsidized by the government to participate in the Global Conference on Overseas Compatriot Affairs in Kaohsiung last month, but they also and visited China, which Lo said amounted to abusing taxpayers’ money.
There used to be a three-year travel restriction on China-bound visits by minister-level officials, including OCAC ministers.
However, Wu shortened the restriction to one year during his term, which Lo said was aimed at facilitating his visits to China.
Lo asked the OCAC to extend the restriction period to three years or more to prevent council officials, who have access to confidential information, from visiting China.
DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said the timing of the visit coincided with the government’s bid to seek participation in the World Health Assembly, which was obstructed by Beijing, and that the OCAC officials were acting against the government’s efforts.
Wang, Chou and other OCAC advisers were appointed by former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
Chuang asked that the council dismiss them immediately.
The council was given advance notice of the visit, but was unable to prevent it despite OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing’s (吳新興) personal attempt to dissuade the members, OCAC Vice Minister Roy Yuan-Rong Leu (呂元榮) said.
The visit was the individual action of some overseas Taiwanese rather than a regular pattern of behavior of the overseas community, Leu said.
The council would take disciplinary measures against the visiting members to prevent such “disorderly behavior,” he added.
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all
TWEET CONFIRMED: The US’ Morgan Ortagus backed up Taiwan, saying China only admitted that human-to-human transmission was possible as late as Jan. 20 Taiwan warned the WHO and China about possible human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus at the end of last year, but the global health body did not make it public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) made the remark at a news briefing in Taipei, when asked about statements made by US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. “Dec. 31— that’s the same day Taiwan first tried to warn WHO of human-human transmission. Chinese authorities meanwhile silenced doctors and refused to admit human-human transmission until Jan. 20, with catastrophic consequences,” Ortagus wrote on