TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After a near four-year tug of war, the National Women’s League (婦聯會), founded in 1950 by Soong Mei-ling (宋美齡), wife of Taiwan's former ruler Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), was ordered to be disbanded on Monday (April 27).
The league was established at the height of the Cold War and has since been seen as closely tied to the Kuomintang (KMT). Its official mission was to care for low-income military families, but one of the ways it claimed to do that was by using a Military Benefit Tax on the value of imported goods from 1955 to 1989.
Questions have long surrounded the funding of its charity work, and there have been demands for detailed accounts. It has been claimed that some of the organization's income, or ill-gotten assets, went to KMT politicians for their election campaigns and KMT-funded social groups.
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, set up by the government to address the financial shenanigans of the KMT era, reached an agreement with the league in late 2017. The deal involved reducing confrontation to a minimum, but it did not work out.
The deal, as set out in the 2017 Political Parties Act, was that the league should rename itself as a political party rather than a social group, which allowed it to avoid supervision.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said at a legislative committee meeting on Monday that the government had given the group a two-year grace period. This was extended to April 27, but the group refused to change its designation.
"Time is up and the ministry will act according to the law," said Hua. When asked by a legislator if that meant the league was ended and was now history, Hua replied with a resounding, "Yes!"