Fri, Mar 15, 2002 - Page 3 News List

MAC promises harsher penalties for officials who work in China illegally

By Tsai Ting-i  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) promised yesterday to restrict the types of work that former Taiwan government officials who have been out of office for three years or more may accept in China.

The MAC also vowed to impose stricter penalties on incumbent government officials who visit China and former officials who cross the Strait within the three-year period.

But a MAC official told the Taipei Times that whether to put the issue under the realm of criminal law is still under discussion.

"We are looking at all kinds of occupations in China and are going to establish a measure which will list each type of post," said Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the MAC. Tsai was responding to a question from PFP lawmaker Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) about how the government intended to address the issue raised by a TSU lawmaker Tuesday of former government officials working in China illegally.

Tsai was attending a session of the Legislative Yuan's Home and Nations' Committee for the second consecutive day after the committee decided to ask her to return for legislators' questions following her routine outline of MAC policy to the committee on Wednesday.

Yesterday's session was dominated by the question of former government officials' ties to China, in the light of TSU legislator Liao Pen-yen's (廖本煙) naming Tuesday of 11 former high-ranking government officials who, he alleged, are working in China and are involved in attracting investment in China from Taiwanese companies.

An official at the MAC who wished to remain anonymous told the Taipei Times yesterday that the MAC is still discussing the precise form that the new penalties will take, but said that they will be "more sophisticated" and "heavier."

The official added, "We are still discussing whether to make the offences criminal."

The existing regulations are a matter of administrative law, which means that transgressors, who can be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000, do not get a criminal record.

Article 33 of the Statute Gov-erning the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) stipulates that citizens of Taiwan may not serve in Chinese organizations without the government's permission. Article 9 says that such citizens may not visit China without the government's permission. The two articles, however, do not state the circumstances under which such permission may be granted.

DPP legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) asked Tsai to comment on whether Ho Hsi-Chun (何希淳) and Tung Hu (童虎), who are both alleged to have solicited business in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park for China, have violated the current regulation.

Tsai said: "Soliciting business may amount to a violation of Article 33, but the MAC must investigate further and obtain evidence."

Ho His-Chun, a former director of the science park, is now an adviser to China's Changzhou and Haimen science parks.

Tung Hu, also a former director of the park, is currently an adviser to Shanghai's Zhangjiang Industrial Complex.

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