Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet official admits to owning property in China


A Cabinet official yesterday acknowledged she owns property in China, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Cabinet-appointed National Palace Museum director Chou Kung-shin (周? confirmed reports in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) that she owned property in China, without specifying what it was.

Chou defended herself, saying the purchases were made before she became a minister.

There is no law prohibiting ministers from owning property in China.

“Everything is legitimate,’’ she said. “After I became the director [of the museum] I reported my assets to the government as required by law.’’

The Liberty Times said Chou owned one residential and one office unit in Shanghai, with a combined value of US$880,000.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) blasted Chou for holding property in China, saying it was inappropriate for an official of her standing.

“This is something the Taiwanese people will not accept,’’ he said.

Lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party also criticized Chou, saying that her property interests in China could call into question her loyalty to Taiwan.

Chou’s acknowledgment came as she hosted the director of the Shanghai Museum — like the National Palace, a distinguished repository of Chinese art.

Earlier this month, Chou became the first National Palace director to visit China, concluding an agreement for her institution to borrow 29 Qing Dynasty relics from its namesake in Beijing.

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