Sun, Dec 30, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Xiamen assistants breaking law: MOI

CAUGHT UNAWARE?As the Haicang District government used a travel agency as an intermediary, the Taiwanese might not have known what work they were hired to do

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of the Interior logo is displayed at the ministry in Taipei in an undated photograph.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has determined that Taiwanese working as assistants to community directors in China have breached the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).

At the 10th Straits Forum in Xiamen, China, in June, 35 young Taiwanese took jobs as assistants to community directors in Xiamen’s Haicang District.

A notice published by the district government’s civil affairs bureau said that the position was open to Taiwanese aged 45 or younger who have a college degree and support the so-called “1992 consensus,” as well as the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and the reinvigoration of the Zhonghua minzu (中華民族, “Chinese ethnic group”).

Those selected would earn 150,000 yuan (US$21,803) per year and would be in charge of village planning, collecting information about villages’ histories and gauging public opinion, as well as promoting Chinese culture, the notice said.

Xiamen University has also been looking for Taiwanese students and graduates to fill five internships as assistants to community directors, saying that they would receive an internship subsidy of 1,980 yuan and a housing subsidy of 500 yuan per month.

Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) earlier this week said that the ministry had convened an interministerial meeting to discuss the employment of Taiwanese as assistants to community directors in Xiamen.

“Based on the legal interpretations of concerned government agencies, the post is categorized by China’s government structural regulations as being part of a local government. It is similar to the position of district clerk in Taiwan and as such has been deemed a position within the Chinese administration,” Chen said.

Article 33 of the act prohibits Taiwanese from taking up posts in Chinese government of military institutions, or becoming a member of any Chinese party.

The government has discovered 33 Taiwanese who have taken up the role and has sent them a questionnaire regarding their position, Chen said.

Some have returned the questionnaire, but the ministry was still waiting for a response from the rest, he said.

Asked whether the 33 would face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 for contravening the act, Chen said that as the Haicang District government used a travel agency it funded to sign their employment contracts, they might not have been aware of the nature of the positions they were hired to fill.

The ministry would try to handle the matter in a more appropriate manner, he added.

The Mainland Affairs Council said that as the employment situation differs between individuals, the government has been conducting an administrative investigation to obtain a better understanding of the matter.

The movement of talent across the Taiwan Strait has become an inevitable trend, the council said, adding that the government understands that many people might accidentally break the law due to information asymmetry.

However, it is the government’s responsibility to remind such people of the nature of their position to prevent them from breaking the law, the council said.

The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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