(TibetanReview.net, Jan17, 2017) – Taiwan is to formally dissolve its Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission as part of a restructuring plan, with its administrative businesses not to be transferred to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) as planned by the previous administration, reported taipeitimes.com Jan 16, citing a draft bill submitted by the Executive Yuan. The report cited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi as saying there was consensus within the government regarding the dissolution of the commission, adding that the body’s different responsibilities would be divided among various relevant departments.
The commission was previously accused of funding disaffected elements to create a division within the Tibetan community in exile before Taiwan became a democracy under President Lee Teng-hui in early 1990s. The democratic development paved the way for a visit by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and a move to dissolve the commission.
Lee was reported to suggest that the commission’s cultural affairs should be handled by the Ministry of Culture, and exchanges with overseas Mongolians and Tibetans by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Overseas Community Affairs Council.
A draft submitted to the Legislative Yuan was reported to make no mention of Mongolia or Tibet in outlining the administrative responsibilities of the MAC.
Lee has said the dissolution of the commission was proposed by former president Chen Shui-bian’s administration, but it was never implemented.
In 2012, the Ma Ying-jeou administration proposed merging the commission and the MAC, with a separate office for Tibetan affairs and Mongolian affairs within the council. That proposal was never passed.
Lee has said part of the restructuring involved issues concerning Tibetan political refugees and the likely establishment of a refugee act that would include provisions for Tibetans, adding that further discussions were also needed to clarify who would act as the representative for Mongolians and Tibetans living in Taiwan.
The report cited an unnamed government official as saying the dissolution of the commission was an established goal, adding that the government must now figure out whether Tibetan and Mongolian affairs should be handled in conjunction with Chinese affairs or separately.
Current President Tsai Ing-wen, who is from the DPP, has reportedly rejected the idea of tying the commission’s responsibilities with those related to China.