Taiwan National Women's League votes against agreement with government

Hard-liners outvoted proponents of an MOU with the government

The National Women's League convened a board meeting on Thursday morning.

The National Women's League convened a board meeting on Thursday morning. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - After six months of negotiations, a Taiwanese women's organization believed to have amassed assets due to its close historical links with the Kuomintang voted on Thursday not to donate its funds to the country's treasury as planned in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between the league's new head and the Interior Minister in late December.

Founded by the wife of Taiwan's former President and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in 1950 and widely believed to have obtained huge amounts of money from the KMT under Chiang's dictatorship during the Martial Law era, the National Women's League (婦聯會) reportedly owns assets valued at nearly NT$38 billion (US$1.3 billion) across the world ranging from hospitals and land to buildings and schools.

The MOU was expected to bring to a temporary closure a long drawn-out quarrel between the Democratic Progressive Party government and the league.

The league initially refused to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Interior, but the latter sacked the organization’s chairwoman, Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲). A former New Party legislator, Joanna Lei (雷倩), who was seen as a moderate trying to iron out differences with the government instead of waging a confrontation, was elected to succeed Koo. Lei later worked out the agreement with the government under which the league would donate 90 percent of its assets to the treasury with the rest to be kept for administrative expenses and charitable causes.

The league convened a board meeting on Wednesday and voted against the MOU to donate its assets and to convert to a foundation, meaning the organization has to be run under the supervision of the government.

In the meeting, 31 out of 60 voted against the MOU. According to Apple Daily, hardline members reportedly proposed to depose Lei from her post as league head.

Former KMT legislator Tina Pan (潘維剛), seen as a hawk, denied the league's alleged relations with the opposition party. Cecilia Koo called in a statement for a reconciliation meeting with the government and with the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee to allow the organization to defend itself. Media reports said representatives of the committee visited the league after Wednesday's vote to inspect its books.

Updated : 2021-03-01 22:43 GMT+08:00