The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission is to be merged with other ministries by the end of this year, which would break up the agency after nearly a century of operations.
The Executive Yuan has not proposed a budget for the commission in the next fiscal year, and is planning to merge the commission with the Ministry of Culture and the ministry level Mainland Affairs Council by the end of this year, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said yesterday.
Six of the commission’s 49 employees are to be transferred to the council, while the remaining staff are to continue handling Mongolian and Tibetan affairs under the ministry, the Executive Yuan said.
There are 472 Mongolians and 648 Tibetans residing in Taiwan on a permanent basis, which are the main recipients of the commission’s services, which are to be continued under the purview of other government agencies.
The commission was founded on July 11, 1928, when the Republic of China (ROC) government was headquartered in China. Since the ROC government’s relocation to Taiwan and the nation’s transition to democracy, there have been calls to abolish the commission as Taiwan has no actual control over the regions, although the Constitution still recognizes Mongolia and Tibet as the nation’s “traditional territories.”
A 2010 amendment to the Organizational Act of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) excludes the commission as a government body, but the commission has continued to function.
In a high-level meeting between President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and top Cabinet officials in October last year, it was decided that scrapping the commission would be a top priority of a planned government restructuring.
The Executive Yuan is to propose scrapping the act authorizing the existence of the commission in the next legislative session.
However, it has the authority to order the closure of the commission before the abolition of the act, Hsu said in response to criticism that the Cabinet should not terminate the commission’s functions until the act is abolished.
While most of the pan-green camp lauded the decision, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), who leads a Legislative Yuan sub-organization to facilitate exchanges between Taiwan and Mongolia, said he was against the proposal to absorb part of the commission into the council, as it would “hurt the feelings of Mongolia” by relegating the nation to an entity subordinate to China.
The commission in its entirety should become part of the Ministry of Culture, Tsai Yi-yu said.
“The Executive Yuan respects the suggestion. Most of the commission’s operations are to be merged with the Ministry of Culture,” Hsu said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the proposal is a move to achieve de jure independence.
However, the government should ensure the “status quo” in cross-strait relations, Lin said.
New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) urged a swift legal abolition of the commission, as well as the Overseas Community Affairs Council and Veterans Affairs Council, which Hsu described as “non-functional” and “parasitic” agencies that had squandered taxpayers’ money without making any contributions.
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