Mon, Nov 11, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Single female politicians form tight-lipped club

STAFF WRITER

Close to 20 single female politicians from both the blue and green camps have created a "singles club," the Chinese-language media reported yesterday.

The report said around a dozen legislators and Cabinet officials set up the Orchid Society (蘭社) during the previous legislative session.

Founding members include PFP Legislator Shen Chih-hui (沈智慧), the KMT's Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香) and Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔), and the DPP's Alice Wang (王雪峰), Chou Ya-shu (周雅淑) and Tang Pi-o (唐碧娥).

Members from the executive branch include Council for Hakka Affairs Chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) and Council of Cultural Affairs Chairwoman Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀), the report said.

Wang was "expelled" from the club after she got married in May, the report said.

The club does not make the identities of its members public, the report said, and the membership has expanded to almost 20, with DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) as a new member.

The report did not say where and how the members meet or what the club activities are.

Last month, female lawmakers lined up to blast the Ministry of the Interior for considering a tax on unmarried citizens aged 40 and older as part of an attempt to turn around the declining birthrate.

The outcry prompted Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) to explain that the proposal, floated by an academic specializing in demographics, has been rejected by the panel studying measures to encourage people to have more children.

KMT Legislator Yang panned the "single's tax" as the most grotesque initiative she had ever heard of.

"The disputed tax was purely a scholarly opinion," Yu told the legislature last month. "It has been rejected by the ministry."

The task force also scrapped an earlier plan to award couples NT$30,000 for every child after two on grounds the measure would strain cash-strapped state coffers.

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