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Tsai to head DPP's China Affairs Committee
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-31 05:39 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Democratic Progressive Party’s China Affairs Committee will continue to operate with even more participation by younger party leaders, new opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen said Saturday.

Tsai took office as DPP chairwoman last Wednesday after being elected to a two-year term last Sunday with more than 93 percent of the vote. She already served as opposition leader from 2008 to 2012.

The China Affairs Committee was formed by her predecessor Su Tseng-chang as a forum to discuss the DPP’s policies and attitudes toward China after they were partly blamed for Tsai’s defeat in the 2012 presidential election.

As the new chairperson, Tsai has assumed the position of convener on the committee. Another one of its nine members, former DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen, entered prison this week to serve a corruption-related sentence.

Tsai told reporters Saturday she hoped the committee could soon convene to discuss the need for changes. She also expressed the expectation that DPP leaders from the younger generation might have the opportunity to take more part in discussion about China policies.

Some of her key appointments since taking over the leadership of the opposition party have been the promotion of policy chief Joseph Wu to the position of secretary-general and the appointment of legislator Chao Tien-lin as head of the China Affairs Department. Wu will continue to serve as the DPP’s representative to the United States, while Chao visited China twice. The lawmaker is known to be close to ex-Premier Frank Hsieh, who angered some within the DPP by emphasizing the need to respect the Republic of China Constitution. Many DPP members and supporters see the Constitution as a relic of another age and another country which should not be amended, but replaced altogether.

Tsai said that many issues would only be discussed with China if Beijing respected Taiwan’s right to exist.

The new DPP leader’s apparent eagerness to involve more of the younger party officials in China policies has also been reflected in her choice of new department heads. Fu Wei-che, a 26-year-old Ph.D. student at National Tsing Hua University, was appointed as director of the DPP youth department.

He told reporters Saturday that the party would not treat youths as its underlings, but would assist them to form independent social organizations with their own views about topical issues. The DPP youth department would not guide youth movements, but would assist them, Fu said. He was present at the March 18 occupation of the Legislative Yuan in protest against the trade-in-services pact with China, but he was not one of the movement leaders, he told reporters.

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