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Sat, Feb 17, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Legislator pans new bank notes

MONEY MATTERS A DPP lawmaker criticized the new bills for portraying political figures, saying that they represent a way of thinking that is not in keeping with today's Taiwan

By Chuang Chi-ting  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday lashed out at new bills he says are guilty of the outdated idolization of political figures.

The central bank is to issue new NT$100 bills in July. Bills with the new face values of NT$200 and NT$2000 will be released in January and July 2002 respectively.

Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese revolutionary leader, will be portrayed on the new NT$100 bills as on the current NT$100 bill. The new NT$200 bills will feature the figure of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), the KMT dictator and former ROC president.

Cho blasted the idea of using political figures on bills saying it was against the evolution of society.

"In today's modern world, we should not encourage political totems, which originate from feudal times," he said.

Cho said it is "tolerable" to see Sun on bills because "he is the only father of China." But he said that choosing Chiang's portrait for the new bill was unreasonable.

"Do we have to have all the presidents printed on our bills in the future? The decision [to have Chiang portrayed on the new bill] is solely to fulfil the requests of certain political powers," Chou said.

Cho said new bills are to be used for roughly two decades, "therefore, we should make use of the opportunity and abandon the outdated political concerns of authoritarianism."

The lawmaker said he has received complaints from a number of people, including staff of the central bank, about the new bills.

Other bills to be issued are designed to depict Taiwan's achievements in technology, education and conservation.

Wu Shaw-chii (吳紹起), director general of the central bank's issuing department, said the revisions regarding printing political figures were carefully made and based on the consensus of members of the third legislature.

He said the adoption of both modern images of the country and also of portraits of political figures is "a compromise."

The central bank said the printing of the new bills has started and cannot be suspended as Cho suggested.

Cho also said it was inappropriate to issue the new NT$2000 bill, will become the highest value bill in circulation, because it may trigger inflation.

Cho claimed that the government's promotion of e-commerce would reduce the need for high-value bills, while holders of such bills would suffer greater losses in the event of a robbery.

Wu, however, said issuing the NT$2000 bills was a move to meet users' needs as well as being a global trend. "Currently, more NT$1000 bills are issued by far than all the other bills combined.

He also listed high-value bills of other countries to show consumer needs for higher-value bills. "US$100 is equivalent to over NT$3000; 500 French francs is over NT$2000; 1000 deutsche marks is about NT$15,000," he said.

"Taiwan's highest-value bill is only higher than that of Korea."

He said that only a small number of NT$2000 bills will be issued initially and will not cause inflation.

Certain revised bills issued last year featured subtle but significant changes and the modifications will be applied to other new bills.

Meanwhile the central bank -- the Central Bank of China (CBC) -- has replaced the Bank of Taiwan as the currency-issuing bank in order to make the New Taiwan Dollar the "national" currency.

The CBC had, since its establishment, issued bills for China. Taiwan suffered from serious inflation after the Nationalist withdrawal from the mainland in 1949. Therefore, the Nationalist government declared in the "Temporary provisions effective during the period of national mobilization for suppression of the communist rebellion" (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) that Taiwan dollars issued by the Bank of Taiwan would become the new currency to circulate in Taiwan. This was part of a currency reform in which the currency issued by the central bank was -- in theory -- to remain the national currency.

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