Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) yesterday became the target of criticism from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over allegations that he served as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign organizer and was a secret informant for the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime.
A group of DPP officials led by DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) yesterday filed a complaint with the Control Yuan against Chen and five other COA officials, accusing them of exploiting administrative resources for Ma’s campaign.
According to the DPP, Chen and KMT vice chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) together led a supporting group associated with the agricultural community to campaign for Ma’s re-election bid, in which the five other COA officials served as KMT contact persons to reach out to voters in that community.
Among the contact people are Farmer Assistance Department Director Tsao Shao-huei (曹紹徽), Food and Agriculture Agency Director Li Tsang-lang (李蒼郎), Husbandry Division Director Hsu Kuai-sheng (許桂森) and Fisheries Agency Director Sha Chih-yi (沙志一).
The DPP asked the government watchdog to investigate the COA officials, who the party said have violated the political neutrality of the civil service and availed themselves of their positions to help Ma gain electoral benefits.
Chen and the COA officials had violated the Civil Service Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法) and Article 131 of the Criminal Code, Lin said.
“The COA officials have blatantly trampled over the laws. The Control Yuan should look into their responsibilities,” Lin said.
The COA not upholding administrative neutrality is not the only case, as similar practices have been common among government agencies under the Ma administration, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said during a presidential campaign stop yesterday.
“This is a serious violation of administrative neutrality,” Tsai said, urging the Executive Yuan — the top administrative body — to clarify the alleged violations and explain the matter to the public.
Earlier at a legislative question-and-answer session, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who is Ma’s running mate in the January presidential election, told DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) he was not aware of the group.
Wu refused to comment on the alleged violations of administrative neutrality, but agreed to get back to Chiu in three days.
“I can’t judge the situation now because you often make false accusations,” he said.
Chiu shouted back, saying the list of names were all written down in ink on paper.
Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) yesterday accused Chen of having been a secret informant for the former KMT authoritarian regime while pretending that he was a member of World United Formosa for Independence (WUFI), the main overseas group dedicated to pursuing Taiwanese independence and democratization.
Huang-liang based his allegation on an article published yesterday on the op-ed page of the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).
The article was written by Lin Hsin-chih (林心智), a retired college teacher, in which he described how he was approached by Chen in 1978 when he studied at the University of Illinois after he completed his doctoral degree at the University of Georgia and was not allowed by the then-KMT regime to return to Taiwan.
Lin recalled that Chen, who claimed he was also a member of the WUFI, invited him to attend a demonstration in protest of the then-KMT regime held in Chicago, but Chen just stood on the sidelines of the protest while taking photographs.
Lin said he believed that Chen was spying for the KMT regime on overseas students and pro-independence activists when Chen was a student at the University of Illinois, because Chen knew Lin’s affiliation with the WUFI.
Tsai called on Chen to give his account of the matter.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang
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