Presidential Office and MAC officials speak of Chang case
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-23 09:02 PM

More news stories are coming to indicate that the former high-level official of Taiwan’s top China policymaking body was informed to leave the post August 14 with the knowledge of the genuine reason for dismissal informed by his superior for allegedly leaking state secrets. A statement from Taiwan’s Presidential Office connoted that Chang Hsien-yao, the former deputy minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), is not ignorant to the reason as he has claimed.

Earlier media story said that Chang had sent a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou defending himself after being notified about an allegation of state secret breach by his superior, MAC minister Wang Yu-chi. This story echoed Wang’s earlier statement that he has informed Chang of the reason for dismissal at the beginning. The discrepancy of statements from both sides has left more mysteries to the scandal.

Presidential Office spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo confirmed Saturday that Ma did receive a letter from Chang and declined to make further commentary excusing that the investigation is underway.

According to the state media Central News Agency, sources said the letter confirmed by the Presidential Office might have explained that Chang came down with the knowledge of alleged state secrets.

After being removed from the post, Chang held a press conference and took part in a political talk show to deny a MAC’s statement that he resigned due to family reasons, saying he was in fact “forced” to step down. The statement snowballed into a dispute between the Executive Yuan and Chang as the cabinet rejected speculations that Chang was replaced because of a conflict with his supervisor over the past week.

Chang has been defending himself that he has always upheld the state interest as a public servant, and he adhered strictly to instructions of President Ma Ying-jeou, the secretary-general of the National Security Council, and his immediate supervisor Wang Yu-chi during his tenure as deputy minister. Chang stressed that both Ma and Wang knew about his every move and decision.

MAC with limited knowledge of secret leaking details

An MAC high-level official stated Saturday that the Council has limited knowledge of whom and what Chang gave information to and the “confidential information” was all about. To that extent, it is difficult to conclude at the moment that Chang was engaged in activities referred to as a “mole” for China by the Investigation Bureau.

This MAC high-level official noted that more details and studies are needed before making such a severe allegation as the Investigation Bureau has suggested.

Sources said earlier that Chang might have divulged information classified as confidential under the National Security Information Protection Act, which classifies information under three levels: top secret, secret and confidential.

A story from local media Apple Daily on Saturday criticizing that the Investigation Bureau (MJIB) is going too far with an initial attempt to refer Chang’s case as a treason-related offence, which is a felony under Taiwanese law. One anonymous high-level official was quoted as saying that “MAC minister Wang was surprised by MJIB’s move and its direction of investigation.” The official added that “the high-level officials in Ma’s administration only see this case as a ‘leaking secrets case’ instead of a ‘treason,’ and the reckless move of MJIB has caused the inconvenience and worries to the administration and national security officials.”

In addition, the MAC responded to China's first remark on Chang’s case on Friday by echoing Beijing's call for limiting conjecture on the investigation and said relations with China would not be affected by the scandal.

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