By Luo Tien-pin and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The Taiwanese Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission is to be dissolved as part of a restructuring plan and its administrative businesses will not be transferred to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), a draft bill submitted by the Executive Yuan said.
During former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration it was proposed that the commission be combined with the MAC, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has disagreed.
A draft submitted to the Legislative Yuan made no mention of Mongolia or Tibet in outlining the administrative responsibilities of the MAC.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said there is a consensus within the government regarding the dissolution of the commission, adding that the bodies different responsibilities would be divided among various departments.
Lee said 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.
The dissolution of the commission was proposed by former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, but it was never implemented, Lee said, adding that the Chen administration proposed establishing a cultural and tourism department that handled the commission’s cultural exchanges, while the foreign ministry would be responsible for Tibetan affairs.
The Ma administration in 2012 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 said that part of the restructuring involves issues concerning Tibetan political refugees and the likely establishment of a refugee act that would include provisions for Tibetans, adding that further discussions are also needed to clarify who would act as the representative for Mongolians and Tibetans living in Taiwan.
A government official said the dissolution of the commission is 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.
Each administration has a different way of thinking about the issue, the official said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has rejected the idea of tying the commission’s responsibilities with those related to China.