ROC flag removal bid an alert: OCAC

TAKE ACTION::An Overseas Community Affairs Council official said a California group’s bid to take down the flag at its office should spur Taipei to engage such groups

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, May 28, 2013 - Page 4

Staff writer, with CNA

A failed bid by members of an overseas Chinese association in the US to remove a Republic of China (ROC) flag from their office serves a “warning” for the Taiwanese government that it is losing the support of such organizations, Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) Deputy Minister Jen Hung (任弘) said on Sunday.

According to a report by the Chinese-language United Evening News, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in San Francisco, California, nearly approved a motion to remove an ROC flag from its office during a board meeting on Saturday.

The association was founded in 1854 and, like many similar groups in the US, offered assistance to Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) when he staged a revolution to overthrow China’s Qing Dynasty and has been a longtime supporter of the ROC government since then.

However, many of these overseas Chinese groups have been gradually distancing themselves from Taiwan and its promotion of localization since Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1978, diplomatic sources said.

Jen said the motion to get rid of the ROC flag at the association’s office failed in a 21-20 vote because the group’s charter stipulates that important resolutions must be approved by three-quarters of the board.

However, Jen said the incident should serve as a warning to the government to make more efforts to win the support of overseas Chinese groups.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said that the association’s extempore motion was to replace the ROC flag with those of the US and the state of California, rather than the People’s Republic of China’s flag, as was reported by the United Evening News.

She said that the ministry respects the autonomy of overseas community groups, but also urges these associations to continue supporting the Taiwanese government because it embraces freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law as its core values.