When Susie Chiang Su-hui stepped down as director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Cultural Centre - Taiwan's quasi-official information office in Hong Kong - government officials, politicians and business leaders turned out to bid her farewell. But more than a year later, Ms Chiang is still living in Hong Kong and says she will not return to Taiwan as long as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) remains in power. Her departure from Kwang Hwa in December 2001 came a year after the DPP came to power, following years of struggle as an opposition party. At her farewell reception, Ms Chiang said her decision to leave the organisation she had founded 10 years earlier was based on career considerations. But she now admits that her departure was due to the change of government in Taiwan. She is an opponent of the DPP - and a supporter of the opposition Kuomintang - and did not wish to be used as a 'tool' to promote the party's ideology. Ms Chiang said the agency would not have had any power over a decision such as the recent Taiwan ban on Hong Kong travellers because of Sars fears. The ruling DPP, she said, was not interested in the Hong Kong perspective on such issues. 'The role of the Hong Kong office is to deliver and explain DPP policy,' she said. Such an approach contrasts with the original idea behind Kwang Hwa, she added. 'The reason for setting up Kwang Hwa was to promote Chinese culture and to link the three places together with Chinese culture, but after the DPP took power, it wanted me to promote Taiwanese culture in Hong Kong. It was impossible for me to do that,' Ms Chiang said. 'I will not be moving back to Taiwan as long as the DPP is in power,' she said. She accuses the DPP of breeding a culture of selfishness in Taiwan, which was seen when health workers fled hospitals in order to escape Sars. Witnessing the Sars outbreak in Hong Kong, Ms Chiang, who now spends her time writing commentaries on Taiwan politics in Chinese-language newspapers and providing business consultancy services, believes the behaviour of medical and health-care workers on the mainland, in Hong Kong and Taiwan provides a vivid illustration of the culture of the three places. 'People on the mainland are very obedient, therefore with government instruction, they could build a hospital in Beijing's countryside in 10 days. The people of Hong Kong are very professional and responsible,' she said. The former politician also criticised the DPP for putting in place travel restrictions before solving its own Sars outbreak. 'The real intention of the travel ban against Sars-infected regions, which the DPP imposed last month, was to target Hong Kong and the mainland. 'They are seizing every opportunity to make a fuss over the mainland,' she said. Ms Chiang first came to Hong Kong in 1980 as the bureau chief of the China Times after spending the first 10 years of her reporting career as a television journalist in Taiwan. The early 1980s was a time of close ties between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong was the indispensable bridge between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. It was also a period when Taiwanese were prohibited from visiting the mainland. Ms Chiang had long wanted to meet her half-sister, left in Fujian by her father when he fled the mainland in 1949. In 1984, she secretly visited their hometown and Beijing, with the assistance of prominent adviser to Beijing, Xu Ximin. The trip made her the first Taiwanese journalist to step foot on the mainland since the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan in 1949. 'We went in the name of visiting my half-sister. I first needed to get the approval of the newspaper, and the newspaper needed to seek [Taiwan] government approval for me. Since it was a personal trip, I didn't write anything about the visit. I went and met quite a number of Beijing officials. 'It was my first contact with mainland officials. Though I couldn't write anything on the meetings and on them, they did provide me with a very good understanding and background information of their thinking. This precious experience helped with my subsequent writing on mainland news,' Ms Chiang said. During 10 years as the island's unofficial cultural envoy in Hong Kong, she was unable to visit the mainland. Her first trip since vacating the post was last April, when she hosted a seminar on Taiwan at the World Economic Forum in Beijing. Now, she is free to go everywhere, unless anti-Sars measures get in the way.