Taiwan moves to probe party assets
TAIWAN is to launch an official investigation into the ill-gotten assets of political parties, in a move blasted by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) as persecution.
The move comes after Beijingsceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took power in May, marking the end of an eight-year rapprochement with China under the previous KMT government.
Since then, relations with Beijing have become increasingly frosty and the new investigation is likely to deepen divisions between Taiwan’s main parties.
Ms Tsai repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the KMT’s assets in her presidential campaign and accused it of trying to dispose of them before presidential and parliamentary elections in January.
Although the bill passed by parliament on July 25 authorises the investigation and seizure of ill-gotten assets from all parties, it is only the KMT which has faced questions about its trove.
Considered one of the richest parties in the world, the KMT registered total assets of T$18.96 billion (US$592.5 million) by the end of last year, compared with T$478.72 million by Ms Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The KMT, which fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese communists on the mainland, traces its wealth to its origins in precommunist China.
It also inherited assets nationalised by the Japanese, who ruled Taiwan as a colony from 1895 to1945. –