The Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) yesterday announced that former OCAC ministers and deputy ministers need to wait three years after leaving office before they would be allowed to visit China.
The announcement came one day after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that OCAC member Wang Wei (王維) and former OCAC minister Wu Ying-yih (吳英毅) last month led a delegation of OCAC officials and Taiwanese-Americans to a gala in China advocating the unification of Taiwan with China.
Previously, former OCAC ministers and deputy ministers could visit China as early as one year after leaving their posts.
The delegation met with China’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office Deputy Director Tan Tianxing (譚天星), who reportedly spoke at length about uniting Taiwan with its “motherland” at a meeting also attended by Taiwan Benevolent Association of America (全美台灣同鄉聯誼會) members.
The event received broad coverage from Chinese media outlets and Chinese government Web sites.
As many as 11 delegates were OCAC officials holding honorary positions, which drew fire from DPP legislators, who demanded that their titles be removed immediately.
OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) announced the extended wait period upon his return from the US yesterday.
The policy is pending approval by Premier Lin Chuan (林全) and is expected to apply to former council ministers and deputy ministers who resigned in the past three years, Wu said.
Wu issued a statement saying that the council commends the unwavering support the vast majority of honorary OCAC members overseas have shown the nation.
However, given the complexity of issues concerning overseas Taiwanese communities, the council understands and respects the needs of some honorary council members to conduct business, visit relatives or travel in China, Wu said.
The council would not condone impropriety by honorary members associated with overseas Taiwanese clubs accepting favors from Chinese authorities, as guidelines set out by the council forbid them from meeting with Chinese officials, attending official or semi-official activities organized by the Chinese government or attending events arranged by overseas Taiwanese communities that subordinate the nation’s sovereignty or are politically charged.
The council is to publish the results of its investigation into the case in two weeks, Wu said, adding that not all OCAC members who visited China have turned against Taiwan.
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