TSU caucus convener Hsu questions government spending on China travel

By Lee Yu-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Sep 17, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Hsu Chung-hin (許忠信) yesterday held a press conference accusing President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration of pandering to China, saying that Taiwan should focus on connecting with other nations instead of being wedded to China.

Hsu said that the Ma administration’s pro-China tilt could be seen clearly from the budget proposals submitted for the next fiscal year, pointing to the NT$8.2 million (US$277,200) allotted by the Ministry of Culture for travel to China, which includes funds to inspect characteristics of Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGO) and how they developed.

Hsu said that China is governed by a communist government and could have no “normal” NGOs, adding that he failed to see why the government needed to spend money inspecting pro-communist NGOs and how they worked.

Hsu also said that the National Police Agency (NPA) had budgeted NT$7.4 million for travel funds in returning Chinese criminals, as per the Agreement on Jointly Cracking Down on Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Across the Strait (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議), saying since the agreement took effect in June 2011, only one person, the former Bamboo Union member Chang An-le (張安樂), had been returned to Taiwan.

However, Chang returned of his own volition, instead of being repatriated by either Taiwanese or Chinese police forces, so the agency’s budget allocation was absurd, Hsu said.

The Institute of Nuclear Research submitted a budget of NT$2.7 million, of which NT$2.4 was to be spent on travel to China to inspect third-generation nuclear power plants and how the plants planned their energy models, he said.

Asking if the center of global nuclear research had shifted to China, Hsu said the institute’s plan — an eight-day tour costing NT$800,000 — was outrageous and appeared to be little more than a group tour in the guise of an inspection.

Response to Hsu’s comments, Fang Yen-pin (方衍濱) the deputy chief of the ministry’s department of general planning, said the ministry had kept cost-cutting principles in mind when drafting its budget.