More controversy erupted yesterday over the attendance of six government officials at a forum cohosted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai, in addition to alleged violations of administrative neutrality.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported that the board and lodging expenses of the six officials during their three-day stay in Shanghai earlier this month were paid by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, while the KMT covered the cost of the flight tickets.
Asked for comment yesterday, KMT spokesperson Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said the report “did not get all the facts right.”
Photo: Lin Cheng-kun, Taipei Times
The Research Center for Relations across the Taiwan Strait under the Taiwan Affairs Office joined with the KMT’s National Policy Foundation in covering all of the expenses of all the members of the delegation from Taiwan, excluding KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), Yang said.
Chu traveled to Shanghai to attend the forum and then to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at his own expense, Yang said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers say that the six officials violated the Public Servants’ Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員中立法).
Minister of Civil Service Chang Che-shen (張哲琛) has said he “personally” considered the presence of the six officials at the forum “inappropriate,” but he added that they did not violate the act because they were granted leaves of absence.
In the event of government officials taking days off work to participate in political party-hosted activities, it is “not illegal” for them to have expenses paid by the hosts or to receive payments for their attendance, “even though it is inappropriate,” Chang said yesterday when asked to comment on the report.
However, DPP legislators were not convinced.
DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) at a press conference yesterday said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had once criticized former minister of transportation Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) for attending a birthday banquet hosted by a private company.
“I wonder how the president would view such unethnical behavior, which is even more serious than Yeh’s?” Yao said.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
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