The Executive Yuan's Veteran Affairs Commission (VAC) said yesterday that veterans who have given up their Republic of China citizenship, such as those who moved back to China before martial law was lifted in November 1987, are not eligible to receive a pension from the government.
The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) reported that a high-ranking government official said that when commission officials went to China in April to confirm the status of Taiwanese veterans, Chinese officials demanded that the Taiwanese government pay NT$13,000 a month to veterans who moved back to China during the martial law period.
The Chinese officials even threatened to report Taiwan to the International Red Cross for allegedly mistreating the veterans, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Taiwanese officials refused and rejected the request on the spot, he said.
The commission's Regulations Governing Payments to Veterans Residing in China (就養榮民赴大陸地區長期居住就養給付發給辦法) says that veterans who relocated to China prior to the ban being lifted in 1987 broke the law and by doing so they have renounced their citizenships and thus are not eligible to receive any form of subsidy payment from the Taiwanese government.
The commission said the pension payments are not available to non-Taiwanese, People's Republic of China passport holders nor those who have a registered household in China.
Commission statistics show that currently there are almost 500,000 veterans and approximately 80,000 are eligible for the monthly payment.
The commission makes the payments every six months and regularly dispatches a number of personnel to China to report back on the status of the recipients.
It has been estimated that during the Martial Law era more than 6,000 veterans broke the law by moving back to China.