Taiwanese warned over taking up political posts on mainland China

But cross-strait affairs agency says professor named as delegate to party congress has not broken the law because she is a mainland citizen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 10:54am

Taipei’s cross-strait affairs agency has warned that any Taiwanese nationals serving in official, military and political posts on mainland China would be subject to penalties under the island’s law.

Chiu Chui-cheng, vice-chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, made the remarks in a statement on Thursday after a Taiwan-born professor was named as a delegate to the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress.

But anyone who gave up their Taiwanese nationality to become a mainland citizen would not be in breach of the law if they took up such a post, Chiu said.

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Lu Li-an, 49, deputy dean of Fudan University’s College of Foreign Languages and Literature in Shanghai, courted controversy when she was elected as one of 2,287 delegates to attend the party congress that begins on October 18.

Her role as a delegate was revealed by Economic Daily News on Wednesday, leading critics to accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the case.

The report cited sources from the Shanghai Taiwan Compatriots Friendship Association – of which Lu is president – as saying that Lu was one of 10 Taiwanese delegates to the party congress.

But there was intense media interest in Lu because she was the only one of the 10 to have been born and educated in Taiwan – the others were either born on the mainland or they are second-generation Taiwanese based there.

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Chiu said Lu would not be subject to any penalties since she no longer held Taiwanese nationality.

“Our understanding is that Ms Lu was born and studied in Taiwan ... After she went abroad for further studies, she and her husband pursued their careers on the mainland and later acquired mainland nationality,” Chiu said.

He added that Lu had served in mainland government and political posts for many years and had applied using mainland status to visit Taiwan for exchange activities in the past few years.

“We respect her choice regarding her nationality,” Chiu said, confirming she had not broken the rules.

Taiwanese can be fined up to NT$500,000 (US$16,400) for doing so. Those who have held government, security and military roles in Taiwan are also restricted from visiting the mainland for up to five years after leaving those posts.

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Lu, who was born in Kaohsiung, studied English literature at National Chengchi University in Taipei before she moved to the United Kingdom in 1990, earning a doctorate in English literature at the University of Glasgow. While there, she met her husband – who was born on the mainland but is ethnic Taiwanese – and the pair moved to Shanghai in 1997.

She has since been an academic at Fudan University, and politically active – becoming an executive member of the Shanghai Women’s League and a member of the city’s Political Bureau in 2003, posts she continues to hold.