Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday confirmed that National Palace Museum (NPM) director Chou Kung-shin’s (周功鑫) recent offer to resign had been approved, but he did not offer a clear account of reasons for the decision.
Presidential Office spokesperson Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had signed off the resignation, but felt that it was the responsibility of Chou and the Executive Yuan to explain the matter.
According to the Chinese-language Liberty Times, (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), Chou originally wanted to return to Fu Jen University for a short period of time at the end of this month and return to her position as museum director early next month, but the request was rejected by Chen and Ma.
The report said 65-year-old Chou had to return to her academic position in order to qualify for her retirement pension, as required by existing regulations.
Chou could not be reached for comment.
“You could say that her resignation was a surprise. You could also say that it was not a surprise,” Chen said in response to media inquiries.
The reason it was not a surprise was that Chou, a professor of French studies at the university, had been on temporary secondment to the government since she was appointed to the position in May 2008 and the period of her transfer finished at the end of this month, he said.
“It was also a surprise because we thought she would choose to quit academia and stay. She decided to return to academia and we could only agree,” Chen said.
There were no other rules or regulations that could be applied to Chou’s resignation and so “we had no choice,” Chen said, without elaborating.