Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Veteran pension loophole to be closed to those in China

By Aaron Tu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Regulations governing an 18 percent preferential interest rate on savings are to be amended to prevent retired military personnel living in China from benefiting from the privilege, the Ministry of National Defense said.

A loophole allows veterans to apply for the rate through friends and relatives under current regulations, the ministry said.

The amendment would mean that veterans living in China would be required to return to Taiwan to reapply for the rate in person whenever their term for the rate expires.

The Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) stipulates that retired civil servants who relocate to China must receive their pension in one lump sum payment.

Those who opt out of the single payment forfeit their pensions when they apply for a Chinese family registry document or passport, and pensions can only be reinstated after the individual returns to Taiwan and reapplies for a Republic of China identity card.

The government has investigated violators in the past and canceled their pensions, the ministry said, but a loophole prevented them from canceling the pensions of veterans who had applied through family members or friends who acted as legal representatives.

Regulations allowing the handling of cases involving civil servants already existed, but did not apply to veterans, the ministry said, adding that under the amendment all retired public servant pensioners would be handled in the same way.

Under the amendment, those living overseas, including in Macau and Hong Kong, would still be able to apply for the rate through legal representatives, the ministry said, adding that the new regulations would only apply to those permanently residing in China and would be applied regardless of the reasons for residency there.

The ministry said that the amendment is needed as the Straits Exchange Foundation has no way of tracing the whereabouts of veterans living in China or to verify whether they have applied for Chinese residency documents.

There are about 800 veterans living in China, the ministry said, adding that those found to be in violation of the regulations would be required to return pension overpayments.

China is an enemy of the nation according to the definition of “enemy” in the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍刑法), Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said, adding that military personnel should be concerned with protecting the nation from enemies.

For veterans to take on the enemy’s citizenship while drawing a pension from Taiwan paid for by taxpayers is an insult to active service personnel, he said.

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