Thu, Oct 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Commission rebuts Tsai's Japanese claim

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC) denied allegations yesterday that it funded Japanese tourists to participate in the Double Ten National Day ceremony under the pretense of inviting "overseas Taiwanese" to the ceremony.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) on Tuesday accused the commission of falsely labeling Japanese tourists at the ceremony as "overseas Taiwanese" to give the impression that a large number of overseas compatriots had returned to the country to observe national day.

The commission shot back in a press release yesterday that such allegations were false.

"Legislator Tsai's [allegations] refer to the 80-member delegation from the United Chinese Society of Hawaii," the release stated, adding that all members boasted Chinese heritage and most had Chinese names.

"Fourteen members have Japanese names," the release said, adding that the commission's records showed that all such members belonged to Chinese families.

The commission also said yesterday that the overseas Chinese compatriots were eligible for an NT$3,200 (US$97) traveling stipend from the Taiwanese government to participate in National Day celebrations, but that such funds were only given to certain domestic travel agencies and not to individual compatriots or foreign organizations.

OCAC Vice Minister Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸) told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday that Tsai hadn't checked his facts, and that all funded overseas compatriots were Chinese regardless of their names. She added that the funds were good for tourism as they were to be used for travel after the ceremony.

"For legislators to level allegations without checking the facts is standard practice," Yang said, adding that "[lawmakers] don't care whether their allegations are true."

Tsai couldn't be reached for comment.

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