The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) yesterday dismissed allegations that the nation’s top cross-strait negotiator, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), and his family were involved in business dealings with China, urging politicians to refrain from engaging in political maneuvering and circulating erroneous information.
The SEF said in a statement that what DPP Spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said on Monday about Chiang and his family was far from the truth, and most of it was old news.
Taking the example of Sinocon Industrial Standards Foundation where Chiang once served as chairman, the statement said the foundation was established in 2005 as a non-profit organization. It served as a communication and interaction platform for experts and the business sector, and the foundation was supported by former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and former minister of economic affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥).
To avoid any conflict of interest, the statement said Chiang resigned from the foundation and a joint venture on May 16, 2008. As the foundation’s board did not approve his resignation, Chiang tendered his resignation again on Nov. 20 the same year and had not participated in any foundation activities since then, the statement said.
Regarding Chiang’s son, the statement said Michael Chiang’s (江俊德) company signed a contract in 2006 to represent China’s state-owned steel company, but that was long before his father took up his current position.
Michael Chiang then took the initiative to terminate the contract after Chiang Pin-kung accepted the job, causing his company to lose NT$13 million (US$411,000), it said.
As for the business of Chiang Pin-kung’s wife, it said Chen Mei-hui (陳美惠) was not directly involved in the operation of a restaurant that was in question. She withdrew her investment from the operation to avoid conflict of interest. The SEF also denied interfering in the itineraries of any Chinese tourist groups that included restaurant visits.
Meanwhile, the Mainland Affairs Council yesterday dismissed concerns that an increasing number of Chinese spouses are getting divorced from Taiwanese partners as soon as they obtain their identification card.
In a statement, the council said statistics showed the number of Chinese spouses did not grow over the past five years, although last year saw an increase in the number of Chinese spouses applying for permanent residency.
The statement was made in response to an allegation made by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) on Monday.
The council said Taiwan has seen an increase in the number of divorces over the years, with both Taiwanese and Chinese spouses facing the increasing problem of single-parent families.
For Chinese spouses, the council said there are several measures in place to protect their fundamental rights. Laws and regulations have been amended under the principle of protecting the legal and ending the illegal, it said.
While it previously took Chinese spouses eight years to obtain an identification card, now it takes only six, it said.
Restrictions on their right to work have also been relaxed, and they are eligible to inherit more than NT$2 million from their deceased Taiwanese partners, it said.
In related news, a new Web site for travel and tourism in Taiwan was launched in China yesterday, targeting 400 million Chinese Internet users with online travel information about Taiwan.
The Web site “Koubei Taiwan” (taiwan.koubei.com) is aimed at providing Chinese tourists more complete and useful information about destinations in Taiwan apart from the more well-known popular tourist spots like Alishan and Sun Moon Lake, said Yu Shih-yi (游士逸), CEO of Taiwan’s eDynamics Inc, which was authorized by China's leading online classified listings site, Koubei.com, to operate the Web site.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA
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