The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is exploiting grants for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) and taking money away from other pro-democracy civic groups by filing for an additional NT$1.77 million (US$59,000) subsidy for an organization that it sponsors, the National Policy Foundation (NPF), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators said yesterday.
The TFD offers three types of grants to promote democracy and human rights — international, domestic and grants to Taiwan’s major political parties.
The international and domestic grants are set to provide funding for domestic and foreign academic communities, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and other relevant groups to hold public events and symposiums, conduct research and make publications related to democracy and human rights.
As for the grants given to major political parties, the foundation allocates an annual reserve budget of about NT$30 million to subsidize domestic parties and their affiliated organizations in holding democracy and human rights events.
However, in spite of the ample annual reserve budget, the NPF applied for more funding in the domestic grant category, which DPP legislators said could take away subsidies for other civic groups.
Citing the TFD’s subsidy data for last year, DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) cast doubt on the NPF’s application for a NT$1.77 million subsidy to provide “English and Japanese translation of online news.”
“This subsidy was not allotted from the annual reserve budget, but from the foundation’s domestic grants program, which could marginalize budget applications by other domestic human right groups,” Hsiao said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), who with Hsiao attended the TFD’s board meetings, said they had voiced their opposition to the subsidy for the NPF.
Calling the subsidy “absurd,” DPP headquarters said that the party also employs part-time translators to translate contents of its official Web site from Chinese to English and Japanese, which only cost up to NT$200,000 per year.
“It is questionable that the NPF needed NT$1.7 million [to translate online news],” it said.
TFD director Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) confirmed the subsidy application and said he had referred the matter to the foundation’s board of directors.
“As the NPF is a KMT-affiliated think tank, the organization is not entitled to the domestic grants. At the instruction of TFD chairman [and Legislative Speaker] Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), the [translation] expenses were covered instead by the budget earmarked for political parties,” Huang said.