Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Lai delays incentive response meeting

SCANT DATA:The meeting will ‘hopefully’ be held this week, as lawmakers cautioned over high pay offered to professors, who could be cut once China learns their specialties

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai, left, and Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung answer legislators’ questions at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday postponed a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss agencies’ countermeasures to 31 incentives to attract Taiwanese to China, which were unveiled late last month by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, citing the need to further collate data for want of details on the way the incentives could be implemented.

Lai made the remarks before a legislative question-and-answer session in Taipei in response to media queries about why the meeting had been delayed.

The premier last week said that the Cabinet would this week unveil countermeasures to the incentives.

Given that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare last week warned university faculty and government-contracted physicians that they might break the law if they pursue a career in China, Lai was asked to comment on whether the government is poised to impose restrictions on Taiwanese applying to work in China, but he declined to comment on the government’s plans.

Details would become clear after the meeting, the date of which has not yet been decided, he said.

He later fielded questions by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Nai-hsin (蔣乃辛) over the delay.

Agencies were still compiling data on the incentives yesterday, as they lacked details on how they would be implemented, Lai said.

Citing media reports that China’s Minjiang University is allegedly offering a starting salary of 150,000 yuan (US$23,709) to Taiwanese professors, Lai said that it remains to be seen what measures Beijing would adopt to help such statements materialize, and whether they would be long-standing or short-term offers.

Chiang criticized the government for not introducing any policies to address the gap between professors’ salaries in Taiwan and those offered in China, bolstered by Beijing’s aggressive courting tactics.

Taiwanese professors who move to China could be discarded once their specialties are mastered by Chinese institutions, Chiang said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) pressed Lai to give a timetable for when the Cabinet-level meeting would be held, to which Lai replied: “Hopefully this week.”

In response to Huang’s suggestion that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) call a national security meeting to discuss response measures, Lai said that it is within Tsai’s purview to arrange such a meeting, and that she would likely do so if needed.

The incentives are different in nature than the mothballed cross-strait service trade agreement, as they would not involve opening the domestic market to Chinese goods and services, Lai added.

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