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Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission sidelining Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation?

June 25, 2009

Jun 24, 2009


The Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation (TTEF) set up in 2002 by the Democratic Progressive Party government is being rendered inoperative by the exile Tibetans’ historical arch-villain, Taiwan’s cabinet-level Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC), according to a Taipei Times report Jun 23. With over 70 percent of its funding coming from the government, the TTEF’s main task is to provide humanitarian assistance to exile Tibetan communities and facilitate contact between the Taiwanese government and the Tibetan government in exile.


But the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) had reported on Jun 21 and 22 that the TTEF operations had been suspended since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government took office last year. The report quoted TTEF vice-chairwoman Hsiao Bi-khim as saying that the MTAC “left the TTEF to rot” after President Ma Ying-jeou said in Sep’08 that the timing was not appropriate for the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan.


The report cited foundation board member Michael Hsiao as saying the government had “prompted” the foundation to cease its functions out of fear that contacts between Taiwan and the exiled Tibetan government might upset China.


The MTAC, on the other hand, has claimed that it only notified the TTEF in Nov’08 that the government would like to appoint new board members representing various government agencies such as the Presidential Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, the Council of Agriculture, the Department of Health and the MTAC itself.


But incumbent secretary-general Lin Chia-lung has maintained, “It’s illegal for the government to just ‘appoint’ new board members — they have to be elected by the board of directors.” He has accused the MTAC of trying to suspend TTEF operations “until the government’s attitude toward the Tibetan government in-exile becomes clear.” In the meanwhile, the foundation’s ongoing humanitarian aid projects stood halted.

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