(TibetanReview.net, Nov30, 2017) – The parliament of Taiwan has on Nov 28 approved a bill to dissolve the cabinet-level Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC) which has a murky history of bankrolling anti-establishment elements within the Tibetan exile community until the early 90’s. It was only after Taiwan became a democracy under President Lee Teng-hui, who invited the Dalai Lama to the country for the first time, that its anti-exile Tibetan establishment agenda came to an end.
The bill is expected to be adopted as a law in less than two months’ time, Kolas Yotaka, MP from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was cited as saying. It was tabled by Tsai Yi-Yu, Chen Chi-Mai, Xu Guoyong, Kolas Yotaka and Lai Jui-lung and approved by 65 votes against 30.
The issue of dissolving the MTAC has long been on the agenda of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan and took concrete shape this year when the cabinet allocated no budget for it for 2018.
It was reported by scmp.com Aug 16 that the commission’s different functions would be taken up by other government agencies, including the Department of Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia and Tibet Affairs under the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s top government agency on its policy dealings with Beijing.
Under the constitution of Taiwan, Tibet and Mongolia are considered part of the Republic of China.
DPP MP Lee Chun-yi, also a member of the committee for dissolving the commission, was quoted as saying, “As things change with time, our concerns for issues regarding Mongolia and Tibet should have changed course much earlier. What we should do is protect the Mongolian and Tibetan community in Taiwan, and guarantee that Mongolian and Tibetan culture will continue to be respected in Taiwan. Here we ask to disband the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission. The remaining 46 members of the commission will be transferred to the culture ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council, so we can officially dissolve the commission.”
President Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration at Dharamshala, India, has welcomed the move to shut down the MTAC, calling it “a sore point and source of misunderstanding between Tibetans and Taiwanese”.
Originally set up as a bureau under the interior ministry of Kuomintang-ruled Republic of China, it was later renamed as MTAC in 1929.