Rumors involving Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih (史亞平) continued to fly yesterday as the Control Yuan decided not to declassify the results of an investigation into her performance during her service as Taiwan’s representative to Singapore.
Control Yuan members Chou Yang-shan (周陽山) and Ma Yi-kung (馬以工) concluded their investigation of interactions between Shih and the government of the host country during her tenure in the city-state from January 2009 to February this year.
On June 20, the Control Yuan’s Committee on Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs classified the report in accordance with the National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).
However, the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday published stories based on what it said was an eight-page report that showed Shih was charged with “dereliction of duty” over a case in which staff from the Taipei Representative Office in Singapore were absent from events related to the centennial commemoration of the Hsinhai Revolution.
The events were held in Wan Qing Yuan (晚晴園), previously used by Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) as his residence and now a memorial hall in his honor.
Control Yuan members charged former representative office division chief Chang Shih-jui (張詩瑞) with “a major violation of the law” because he refused to cooperate with the investigation, as required by the Control Yuan Act (監察法), the paper said.
The paper added that the cause of tension between Shih and the Singapore government came from the singing of the national anthem and hoisting of the national flag at the Double Ten National Day ceremony last year, which angered the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The reported disclosure of the Control Yuan’s report called into question the rationale for the charges the ombudsmen brought against Shih and the representative office.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon following the committee’s meeting, Chou and Ma both dismissed the United Daily News reports as “speculation” and reminded the press and civil servants that they “could face jail terms” for revealing or leaking classified information.
Chou said he tried to persuade committee members at the meeting yesterday to declassify the report, but the committee decided to uphold the decision reached on June 20.
Citing the National Security Information Protection Act, Chou and Ma declined to answer when pressed by the media to specify what the charges were against Shih.
Media reports of the problems between Shih and the Singaporean government “were not exactly what we discovered in our investigation,” Ma said.
Chou said the Wan Qing Yuan incident was “a small part of the whole investigation” that was launched to understand the total interaction between Shih and Singapore government. His remarks contradicted the United Daily News, which said that a total of five pages of the eight-page report were about the incident.
“We did find the way Shih interacted with Singapore affected bilateral relations between the two countries. It was so serious that we classified the report,” said Chou, who again declined to elaborate.
Ma said the report would not be declassified until June 14, 2022, unless Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsien decides to declassify it and the committee agrees to its publication in accordance with related articles of the National Security Information Protection Act.