Taiwan’s National Women’s League recently agreed to provide its financial reports to the Ministry of the Interior following recent speculations about their financial sources. This will be the first time the league will publicize its assets.
Following a meeting between league officials and Civil Affairs Department Director Lin Ching-chi at the league’s headquarters in Taipei, the ministry announced that the league had agreed to provide an annual budget and detailed reports on its income and property by Monday.
“They said that even though they are willing to provide the information, they will still need a few days to get things in order, because it is a different format to what they have given the National Taxation Bureau,” Civil Affairs Department Deputy Director Luo Rui-ching said, adding that the ministry would publish the league’s submission.
The procedure is basically the same as that for political parties under the Civil Associations Act, under which the league is registered as a political organization, he said.
Established by former president Chiang Kai-shek’s wife, Soong Mayling, in 1950 and headed by her for decades, the league’s charitable work benefited from its close ties to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian government.
It received much of its funding from a tariff called the Military Benefit Tax, which was levied on the US dollar value of all imported goods between 1955 and 1989.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators have demanded an investigation into the group’s assets as part of a broader push against the KMT’s ill-gotten assets and those of its affiliated groups, with the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee passing several resolutions calling on the ministry to force the league to open its books.
“We’ve asked them many times in the past, but they have never provided any information, using the excuse that many documents cannot be located because of the passage of time and changes in personnel, while stating that they have already given reports to the National Taxation Bureau — but the problem is that there are different laws involved,” Luo said.
He said the ministry would not make any judgments on whether the league is a KMT affiliate, that would be for the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee to decide.
“As far as our rules are concerned, it’s not an affiliated group, but rather an independent political organization,” Luo said, adding that the ministry has the power to force the resignation of members or disband the league.