Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT helped itself to the state coffers, forum speakers say

PUBLIC PROPERTY The KMT took over Japanese property that should have become state assets, but has kept them as private property, academics said

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Historians at a forum yesterday said that much of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) assets were acquired illegally and should be returned to private individuals or the state coffers.

Based on his studies of the KMT's archives and declassified documents, Li Fu-chung (李福鐘) of National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of Taiwan History said that the KMT funded itself with government funds before the Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC) went into effect in 1947.

After losing the Chinese Civil War and fleeing to Taiwan in 1947, the KMT regime, faced with formidable expenses, continued to mix the party and state coffers, Li said.

After Japan was defeated in World War II and ended its colonial rule of Taiwan, Li said the KMT took over Japanese property that should have become public assets and managed them as a business for party profit.

Li made the remarks at a forum held in Taipei yesterday. He was one of the panelists invited to speak at yesterday's forum, titled "Post-World War II Dossier and Historic Study."

The two-day forum was organized by the Academia Historica and held at the National Central Library.

Chang Jen-chieh (張人傑) of Tamkang University's Department of Public Administration said his research found that KMT assets consisted of real estate, businesses and assets acquired via privileges or interests.

Many of the party's assets were taken over after the Japanese left in 1945, Chang said, but the government was having problems claiming them as public assets because little is known about how the KMT obtained them.

Huang Shih-hsin (黃世鑫), dean of the Public Affairs College at National Taipei University, quoted a KMT publication that referred to the KMT regime as a party-state authoritarianism that nevertheless obtained all party assets legally.

"While the public may find flaws in the acquisition process, all were acquired according to existing laws," Huang quoted the publication as saying.

Huang, however, argued that a party can only manage or make use of state assets, but not possess them. When the KMT left power, it should have returned those assets to the state, he said, adding that the KMT was illegally holding onto public property.

Meanwhile, Shiu Wen-tang (許文堂) said that dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and the KMT were responsible for the nation's diplomatic difficulties, for severing ties with France in 1946 and withdrawing from the UN in 1971.

Shiu said French president Charles de Gaulle sent a delegation to see Chiang one week before France established diplomatic ties with China. France had hoped Chiang would accept their offer of dual recognition of the People's Republic of China and the ROC, but the offer was rejected by Chiang, who cut ties with France in 1946, Shiu said.

Wu Chih-chung (吳志中), a political science professor at Soochow University, traced the nation's diplomatic plight to that incident.

Chen Wen-hsien (陳文賢), professor of Taiwanese history at National Chengchi University, echoed the remarks.

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