Culture society power struggle continues as meeting falls through

A General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC) meeting scheduled for Monday to usher in President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as the association’s new leader fell through amid accusations of political gamesmanship.

The association, formed by late President Chiang Kai-shek to promote Chinese culture, has been led in recent years by former Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) but is set for a leadership change with the change in power to a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

The association’s executive and consultative committees were expected to meet Monday to approve the applications of 623 new members, with Tsai among them, who would then be in a position to help Tsai take over as association president.

But 29 members from the two committees, including 12 executive committee members who a day earlier issued a statement supporting the leadership handover, failed to show for the meeting, leaving it short of the necessary number to form a quorum.

The 12 were predominantly business people but one of them was former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

The adjournment of the committee meeting was considered by some as an attempt by the association to block Tsai from becoming its new president and to try to elect a new president based on its original member structure.

The Presidential Office accused the GACC executive committee, which it said is composed of mainly government officials of the previous KMT administration, of continuing to stall all changeover tasks and described it as an improper political intervention.

Liu has previously objected to so many new applicants for membership in the association, which has only 285 members at present, but he said he regretted that Monday’s meeting could not be held as planned.

Liu’s term ended Monday but the failure to approve Tsai’s membership application at the committee meeting gave rise to speculation that Liu would continue in the role, something Liu denied.

He said he will not cling to his position, and will not serve as a member of either the association’s executive or consultative committee or interfere in the GACC’s affairs after he steps down.

A new president of the GACC can be elected three months after Liu’s term ended, according to the Civil Organizations Act.

The organization has long had a political component and treated as a political football in more recent years.

Founded in 1967 to promote the restoration of Chinese culture to counter China’s Cultural Revolution, the group had been led by incumbent presidents of Taiwan until 2010, when Liu was elected association president.

When the DPP’s Chen Shui-bian was president, he changed the organization’s name by removing the “Chinese” component as part of a wider name rectification campaign to rid Taiwanese organizations of their “Chinese” links.

But the word “Chinese” was restored to the name after Liu became GACC president in 2010 under the KMT administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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