Compatriots abroad may join Chinese holiday

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 3

Taiwan will neither encourage nor ban overseas compatriots from participating in China’s National Day celebrations, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said yesterday.

Fielding questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), the premier said the government respected the rights of compatriots and the democracy of the nations where they live.

“The government cannot impose a ban on any compatriots’ activities,” Wu Den-yih said. “Therefore, we will not encourage them [to take part in China’s celebrations], but we cannot prohibit them, either.”

Wu Den-yih said that the government would respect the decisions of individuals, adding that the government would work hard to win the hearts of overseas compatriots.

“We hope they can also see the Republic of China’s ­achievements and promote cross-strait peace when meeting people from mainland China,” Wu Den-yih said.

Minister of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission Wu Ying-yih (吳英毅) told reporters at the legislature on Monday that the commission had sent letters to its overseas commissioners, who are unpaid officials, to try to prevent them from participating in China’s celebrations next month.

However, Wu Ying-yih said it would be “acceptable” if overseas compatriots took part in the celebrations as individuals.

Wu Ying-yih said China’s overseas compatriot officials had been in frequent contact with Taiwanese overseas compatriot organizations and used to demand that the Taiwanese groups remove the nation’s flag and picture of Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) during meetings. However, the number of such occurrences had decreased, he said.