Thu, Oct 22, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker calls for limits on attending Chinese events

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should prohibit government-funded organizations from attending official events held by the Chinese government, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said yesterday, citing as an example a Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) official who attended China’s military parade last month.

Tsai asked Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) during a question-and-answer session at the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee whether it is appropriate for staff of government-subsidized institutes to attend the parade in Beijing.

“It is not appropriate,” Lin said.

Tsai was referring to George Tsai (蔡瑋), then-vice president of TFD who visited China and attended the military parade last month.

“The TFD is a foundation that is fully subsidized — with NT$105 million [US$3.23 million] – by the ministry,” the lawmaker said.

“The foundation is one that is supposed to champion democracy, liberty and human rights. George Tsai’s participation in the military parade has damaged the values upheld by the foundation,” he said.

Lin said he was not informed of the matter before or after the event.

“TFD president Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) also did not approve of the visit and asked George Tsai to leave. However, under pressure from higher authorities, he was able to stay in the foundation as a senior research fellow,” the lawmaker said.

Tsai Huang-liang added that George Tsai’s presence during the military parade was tantamount to an endorsement of China flexing its military muscle and denying Taiwanese sovereignty.

Lin said he would pass the legislator’s opinion on to the foundation, but did not promise to issue a ban, saying: “The foundation is an independently run organization.”

The TFD later said that George Tsai did not attend the military parade “in his capacity as the foundation’s vice president,” but as a professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei.

The foundation added that George Tsai was transferred to his new post of senior research fellow because his term as vice president ended last month.

His term as research fellow, which started this month, is scheduled to end on June 16 next year, it said.

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