Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

MAC to fine wardens for signing Chinese agreements

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

To deter China’s “united front” rhetoric, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) plans to fine borough wardens for signing agreements with their Chinese counterparts.

Taiwan Borough and Village Wardens’ Association director Chen Chien-liang (陳建良), doubling as the Meiren Borough (美仁) warden for Taichung’s Shalu District (沙鹿), led a group of about 30 borough wardens on a visit to China, a source said, citing Chinese reports.

Borough wardens from New Taipei City, Changhua County and Kinmen County have all allegedly signed documents to further collaboration with Chinese boroughs, the source said.

The council said that the act of signing is considered a contravention of Article 33 of the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係法) and those found guilty would receive a fine of NT$100,000 to NT$500,000.

The signing of the agreements was just a formality meant for the Chinese government, Chen said, adding that it had nothing to do with Taiwan.

Chen maintained that the borough wardens were innocent, saying that the government had not informed officials of what was legal and what was not.

“Borough wardens are voted into office, too. It is unfair to just punish us like this,” Chen said.

The Ministry of the Interior’s Civil Affairs Department said that borough wardens are not empowered to sign any agreements and the act of signing was a legal transgression.

Chinese policies against the public and young people of Taiwan have increasingly targeted temples, farming and fishery associations and Aborigines, the source said.

Low-level civil servants such as borough wardens have also been targeted, the source said, citing news last month of eight borough wardens who were allegedly doubling as township or community committee members in China.

They are still being investigated, the Ministry of the Interior said.

China began targeting low-level civil servants soon after the local elections in November last year, the source said.

About 24 Kaohsiung Municipal Borough Association members were invited to visit China’s Hainan Province at the beginning of December last year, the source said, adding that according to Chinese media reports, eight other groups visited China between January and last month.

The source said that the visitors were asked to join in and sing songs that praised China, such as My Homeland (我的祖國)

It is possible that more groups visited China, but were not reported on, the source added.

Citing Chinese reports, the source said that four Taiwanese groups visited China in January, three visited in March and an unknown number of groups visited in February over the Lunar New Year period.

Six groups of borough wardens and representatives from Changhua County and Taichung planned to visit China’s Chongqing City from Monday until yesterday, the source added.

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