Thu, Sep 19, 2002 - Page 3 News List

KMT youth corps given `unfair break'

ADVANTAGE?The legislators said that the Cabinet-level Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission is letting the China Youth Corps stay at a recreation center for a discount

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two DPP lawmakers yesterday urged the government to investigate a fee arrangement for a Taipei City recreation center between the Cabinet-level Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission and the KMT- affiliated China Youth Corps (CYC).

DPP lawmakers Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠) and Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) pressed the issue during a joint news conference in the legislature yesterday morning.

Lee said that over the years the Cabinet-level Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission has undercharged the China Youth Corps while allowing the group to use the Youth Recreation Center in Shihlin.

He accused the commission of playing a prodigal son at the expense of state coffers and prodded the government to terminate the arrangement as part of the effort to probe the legality of KMT assets.

Lee said the commission should have determined its rate by referring to the current land values and the buildings on the site as required by a 1995 land rule.

"But the commission has ignored the regulation and collected its fees based on the worth of the buildings alone," he said. "The commission should take a tougher stand on the matter now that the KMT is no longer in power."

The Cabinet approved the construction of the center in 1978 after then-commission officials complained about a lack of facilities to entertain overseas youth.

The Taipei City Government, the National Property Bureau and the railway bureau own different parts of the land, according to commission official Wang Chen-tai (王鎮台). He said what the commission has collected from the China Youth Corps is not rent but fees for the right to run the recreation center.

"The figure is always calculated according to a set formula," Wang said, adding that the commission owns only two-thirds of the center's new buildings.

The China Youth Corps, formerly a KMT propaganda arm, has added three new buildings to the original establishment. Currently, the youth group has to pay the commission NT$7.8 million a year, a sum CYC official Chen Kuo-yi (陳國義) said is not extraordinarily low.

In recent years, the group has become increasingly independent. Its board members have rejected candidates favored by the KMT headquarters for their leadership positions. Jeanne Tchong-koei Li (李鍾桂), wife of former Judicial Yuan president Shih Chi-yang (施啟揚), now heads the CYC.

But DPP lawmaker Tsai Chi-fang insisted that the money paid to the Cabinet commission is unduly modest, noting that its Peitou club earns the agency an annual income of NT$40 million. A 1999 pact stipulates that the sum the CYC pays the commission must not be less than N$7.7 million a year.

"I find it more advisable for the private sector to manage the youth recreation center," Tsai told reporters. "I don't see what is keeping the commission from doing that." The lawmaker called on the government to take his advice into consideration when proposing legislation.

Earlier, the Cabinet introduced two bills aimed at regulating political parties and allowing authorities to take action against properties illegally acquired by any party.

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