DPP reiterates pensions, cross-strait offices stance

RIGHT TO RIGHTS::A poll found most respondents think the establishment of the offices hinges on Beijing giving Taipei the right to visit Taiwanese detained in China

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - Page 1

Reforming the pension funds of public-sector workers should take priority over private-sector funds, and the proposed representative offices across the Taiwan Strait should be accorded substantial functions, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday, reaffirming its position on a pair of contentious issues to be discussed in the ongoing extra legislative session.

The DPP emphasizes social fairness in its reform plans, which is why it is calling for a narrower income replacement rate gap between public and private-sector pensions, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.

“The income replacement rate of public-sector workers would still be between 80 percent and 90 percent under the government’s reform plan. The DPP argues that it should be about 70 percent,” Lin said.

Though calculations vary, the average income replacement rate for private-sector workers is usually said to be about 60 percent.

With regards to the establishment of representative offices for the Straits Exchange Foundation in China and for the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in Taiwan, Lin said the offices should be established with the purposes of serving people on both sides, instead of for any political implication.

Citing a public opinion poll conducted by the party’s poll center on Monday and Tuesday last week, Lin said that most respondents deemed the establishment of the offices unnecessary if Beijing does not grant Taipei visitation rights to Taiwanese nationals detained in China and if the offices are not authorized to issue travel documents.

The poll found that 83.1 percent of respondents felt China had to grant the rights, while 65.2 percent said the offices would be unnecessary without the rights.

The survey also found that 78.3 percent of those polled feel the offices would need to have the ability to issue travel documents, while 29.1 percent said they are needed even without that power and 5.7 percent declined to answer, Lin said.

Meanwhile, Lin said Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲) had not “extended an olive branch” when he said Beijing welcomes supporters of Taiwanese independence who want to visit China.

“Beijing’s opposition to Taiwan’s independence ironically reflects its lack of understanding of the nation’s democratic society and it disrespects Taiwanese because all ideologies are respected on this side of the Strait,” Lin said.

“How do you define pro-Taiwan independence advocates?” DPP Department of China Affairs director Honnigman Hong (洪財隆) asked. “Beijing’s invitation is meaningless. It should shelve its differences with the DPP and interact with it.”