58 former officials have circumvented China travel ban: lawmaker

A ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Friday accused 58 former ministerial officials and local government chiefs of taking advantage of a legal loophole to circumvent a ban on traveling to China.

According to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, former political appointees and local government heads who plan to travel to China within three years of leaving office are required to obtain prior approval from the agencies in which they served, Lee Chun-yi (???) said in a Facebook post.

The law, however, also contains a provisory clause that allows discretion in shortening or extending the restriction period, based on the nature of the business the applicants were involved in, he said.

Many officials from the former administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (???) and former local government chiefs from his Kuomintang party have abused the clause to shorten the period in which they are forbidden from traveling to China, he said.

Those named by the lawmaker include former Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (???), former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (???), former Culture Minister Hung Meng-chi (???) and former National Palace Museum Director Feng Ming-chu (???).

According to Lee, Hu approved his own application before leaving office.

Feng, who became an advisor to the Palace Museum in Beijing just three months after leaving office, may also have violated a revolving door ban on government officials, he said.

He urged the Mainland Affairs Council to investigate the listed officials and said he will continue to pursue the issue after the Legislative Yuan reopens for a new session later this month.

In response, Feng said that her restriction period was shortened from three years to three months because "it does not involve classified information," and that her appointment at the Palace Museum in Beijing is an honorary one for which she is not paid a salary.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel