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Hau Lung-bin acts to squelch Hsieh Chi-ta controversy
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-08 06:08 PM
Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin was reluctant to juggle another hot potato Thursday with the revelation that Hsieh Chi-ta, a former New Party legislator, had appeared on a Chinese TV program in which she criticized the students in the Sunflower movement for ‘being used.’ Hau suddenly seemed to feel he had enough on his hands and promptly ushered Hsieh out of a position in the secretariat of the municipal government.

Hsieh has had a checkered career in politics as well as in government in Taiwan, Born in 1949 Jiangxi’s Shangrao City, she came to Taiwan with the family in the same year. Years later her brother revealed that the family patriarch had purchased real estate property in China for all of his children and that Hsieh Chi-ta owned houses in Beijing, Shanghai, Taoyuan and other areas.

A lawyer by profession, Hsieh served as a New Party legislator and briefly headed the party during her heyday as a politician. She gradually won attention as well as enemies in a long string of controversies involving fellow civil servants and politicians.

She was entangled in the brouhaha surrounding Kuo Kuan-ying, who wrote articles disparaging Taiwan while serving in the ROC’s de facto consulate in Toronto. At that time Hau Lung-bin came to Hsieh’s defense, emphasizing that having her in government service was “not a bad idea” and saying that Hsieh brought a wide range of expertise to the job. Hsieh agreed her expertise was in public service, explaining she was there to help Hau and the government any way she could.

Hsieh was the would-be whistle-blower who accused Lee Teng-hui’s wife Tseng Wen-hui of trying to smuggle boxes of US dollars to the United States in 2000. The funds were intercepted by US Customs and returned to Taiwan, where Hsieh found herself on the wrong side of a lawsuit for defamation. She avoided prosecution when bank personnel corroborated her tale of US dollars bound in twine.

In February 2012 Hsieh attested to the integrity of rogue former legislator Luo Fu-chu when he was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for money laundering and insider trading. Hsieh insisted that "Luo will not try to flee" and was deeply embarrassed when he did just that, reportedly sneaking away to the mainland where he held considerable investments.

Thursday’s revelations come on the tail of bad publicity for the Taipei City government in the case of an eight-year-old girl who died of starvation and neglect after school officials failed to notice she had not been registered for classes.

Pressured by developments in the case of the young girl, Hau apparently found his patience wearing thin in handling controversies concerning Hsieh and promptly approved her resignation from a part-time sinecure purportedly designed to keep her on the city payroll long enough to qualify for a fat pension. With his announcement on Thursday, Hau would seem to have put an abrupt end to Hsieh’s career as a civil servant.

Hsieh has protested that her position with the city was “not about the money” and that she could easily find work elsewhere. With little hope for the pension she had been expecting, she may need to update her resume.

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