Sun, Feb 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hearing called over Women’s League

KMT TIESCecilia Koo has denied allegations that the league is linked to the KMT and was made rich because of it, saying that her husband helped the league invest wisely

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee yesterday said that it would convene a public hearing on whether the National Women’s League, set up by Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) wife Soong Mayling (宋美齡) in the 1950s, is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said the committee would hold a public hearing in late April or early May regarding the National Women’s League.

Shih called on the league to agree to an investigation by the Ministry of the Interior and provide information as soon as possible.

The league said that it was established to serve the nation and that no political party could dictate its personnel, finances or management.

It also said it would donate NT$28 billion (US$909 million) from its total assets, which are valued at NT$38.1 billion, in the public interest.

A donation of NT$16 billion is to be made to government agencies in charge of providing long-term care, NT$6 billion to social welfare organizations and NT$6 billion to the Cheng Hsin Hospital in Taipei.

The hospital, also set up by Soong in 1967, was a rehabilitation clinic for those with poliomyelitis, but has since become a private general hospital.

“As the league identifies with the Republic of China [ROC], it is only natural that it return its assets to the nation,” Shih said.

Shih said she hopes that the league would propose a donation program that would meet public expectations.

The league’s donation to the hospital is like “taking from one hand to give to the other,” Shih said, adding that the league should consider whether such a donation is “suitable,” as it could “give a bad impression.”

Women’s League chairwoman Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲) said in a recent interview that the organization was being unjustly targeted.

Cecilia Koo, 91, wife of the late Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), who was one of the richest businessmen in Taiwan and served as Straits Exchange Foundation chairman, said the league is not affiliated with the KMT and asked how charity work has anything to do with party affiliations.

She said the league was founded to take care of the poor, the sick and those unable to help themselves.

Initially, the foundation focused on helping military personnel and their families after they relocated from China to Taiwan with the ROC government in 1949, and building dormitories, she said.

The funds used for construction work and caring for war orphans were donated by the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei, not, as some have suggested, “a surcharge” donated by the military for the league’s assistance, she said.

The league spent donations on building dormitories, as well as an orphanage, she added.

“The league helped the nation cultivate talented individuals, helped with disaster relief, floods and fires and taught military dependents handicraft skills,” she said, adding the league “never misappropriated a cent of the money it received from the public; I never pocketed a cent.”

Cecilia Koo said the league is “rich” because she was married to Koo Chen-fu, who helped the league invest wisely before he died in 2005.

The league has fully cooperated with the government audit and has been working to locate financial records dating back to its founding, she said.

The league came under the microscope after allegations that it illegally profited from close ties to the KMT and the KMT-led government in Taiwan.

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