The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) yesterday ended weeks of speculation over government interference in a major reshuffle by announcing that it was retaining most of its governing board.
The board decided at a meeting yesterday that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would stay on as the foundation's chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) would remain its vice chairman and Lin Wen-cheng (林文程) would keep his post as executive director.
Two of the three deputy executive directors — Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸) and Tsai Chang-yen (蔡昌言) — will also continue in their posts, while the third, Tung Li-wen (董立文), had tendered his resignation, Wang said.
Huang Kwei-bo (黃奎博), the director-general of the foreign ministry's Research and Planning Committee, will take over Tung's post.
In a telephone interview with the Taipei Times yesterday, Tung said that “higher-level [authorities] had expressed concern” over the personnel reshuffle. He declined to reveal names.
Tung said a personnel rearrangement would be made in a piecemeal manner and that more changes would follow.
Describing the result of yesterday’s board of directors meeting as “satisfactory,” Wang dismissed media reports that high-ranking officials had attempted to interfere in the personnel reshuffle.
“[We] did not suffer any pressure [from the government,]” Wang told reporters.
“We were completely impartial, fair and transcended party lines [in discussing the reshuffle],” he said, adding that the TFD would continue to serve as a fair, neutral and independent think tank that promotes democracy.
He also dismissed speculation that a government plan to make major changes was dropped because of pressure from Washington, saying that Lin chose to remain in his post because the TFD is highly respected at home and abroad.
US Congressman Robert Andrews recently wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama expressing concern over the growing controversy over the TFD's future.
It has been widely reported that the Ma administration intended to make major changes to the foundation's governing board and to stop it from offering financial support to pro-democracy movements in China, Tibet and Cuba.
The letter asked Obama to “urge” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his administration to “let the TFD do its useful work the way it had done over the past six years.”
Carl Gershman, president of the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, had also written to Ma, calling on him not to interfere with the structure and policies of the foundation.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday declined to comment, saying only that the foundation’s personnel reshuffle was made in accordance with its charter.
A presidential aide, who asked to remain anonymous, said National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起) had intervened in the personnel reshuffle.
The negotiation was made under three principles, the official said. First, Su asked that the matter be dealt with in accordance with the foundation charter. Second, he said he would respect Wang's arrangement. And finally, he said the personnel reshuffle “must be dictated by the executive branch” because it was the established practice when the Democratic Progressive Party was in power.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG
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