The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday there was no law to monitor the use of 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) donated by Beijing to a Non-Partisan Solidarity Union legislator for relief efforts in Aboriginal areas.
Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), who is half-Atayal and was elected by an Aboriginal constituency, led an 85-person delegation to Beijing, where she met Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Wang Yi (王毅).
Wang yesterday handed her a check for 20 million yuan to help Aboriginal communities devastated by Typhoon Morakot.
MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said Chinese parties interested in donating money to the relief effort and reconstruction should do so through the Ministry of the Interior, the Straits Exchange Foundation or the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China.
“It is inappropriate for an individual to handle relief funds,” he said.
“We hope the money will be handled properly and go directly to the victims and their families in a fair and reasonable manner,”
As the money was handed to an individual, it will not go through government channels and therefore will not appear on state treasury accounts concerning the relief efforts, Liu said.
He said that since the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and the Statute Governing Fundraising for Non-profit Purposes (公益勸募條例) do not regulate foreign donations made to individuals, there was no way to monitor Chin's use of the funds.
The administration may contact her about the matter, he said.
Aboriginal lawmakers across party lines had panned Chin for going abroad while Aboriginal communities struggle in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot.
“Anyone with sympathy would not think this is an appropriate time to travel abroad,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) of the Sediq tribe said.
“As an Aboriginal lawmaker, she should have stood by the nation's Aborigines,” Kung said.
Chin brushed off the criticism, saying the trip had been planned to promote tourism in Aboriginal regions, but after Morakot struck, she decided to seek China's help for typhoon survivors.
“President Hu told me that he saw the suffering in Taiwan on TV and his thoughts are with the compatriots in Taiwan. He hoped I would pass on his words,” Chin said yesterday in Beijing.
KMT Legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明) of the Paiwan tribe, who was invited to accompany Chin, said he had not gone because it was more important to help Aboriginal communities struck by Morakot.
On Chin's decision to make the trip, Chien said only: “She may have her own considerations.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩) of the Puyuma tribe questioned the sincerity of both Chin and China in helping typhoon victims.
“Chin was in Japan during the first couple of days when everyone was dealing with aftermath of Typhoon Morakot. She came back, went on TV and slammed the government for its slow rescue efforts and now she's in Beijing,” Chien told the Taipei Times via telephone.
Chin's trip and China's donation was purely a political show, Chien said.
Chien also slammed Council of Indigenous Peoples Atayal Representative Yun Tien-pao (雲天寶), several officials from Aboriginal townships and People First Party Legislator Lin Cheng-er (林正二) of the Amis tribe for accompanying Chin to Beijing.
Council Minister Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香) said she did not know that Yun was part of Chin's delegation, while other officials at the council said Yun had taken three days off but they were not sure where he had gone.
Chang said she had not decided whether to censure Yun.
When asked for comment, Kung criticized Chang for her lack of leadership skills.
“She just doesn't know how to lead the council,” Kung said.
“All 14 tribal representatives at the Council for Indigenous Peoples should act as a bridge between the nation's Aborigines and the council and stand united with all Aborigines regardless of their tribal affiliation as they struggle to recover,” Kung said.
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