Taiwan bars former top officials from Chinese political events

Officials from defense and foreign affairs ministries are going to be affected by the new law. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 July 2019

Taiwan bars former top officials from Chinese political events

  • The new law prohibits some officials from attending events hosted by or affiliated with the Chinese government
  • Violators may lose their monthly pensions or even pay a fine up to $320,000

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s parliament has voted to tighten a law governing links with China, effectively barring many of its former top ministers and retired generals from attending Chinese government ceremonies.
Ties between China and Taiwan are frosty, with the mainland cutting off communications with the island’s government after the election of Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen three years ago.
“We should sternly forbid any actions (from our retired military generals) such as saluting the Chinese flag, singing the Chinese anthem or any actions which could damage Taiwan’s national interest and dignity,” the island’s premier Su Tseng-chang said in a statement on social media.
The amended law — passed on Wednesday — prohibits former generals, the heads and their deputies of certain ministries like defense and foreign affairs from attending events hosted by or affiliated with the Chinese government.
Violators risk losing their monthly pension or a maximum fine of $320,000.
Taiwan has been a self-ruled, de facto nation in charge of its own affairs and borders for the last 70 years.
But China maintains that it is a part of its territory to be retaken — by force if necessary.
Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of “One China,” unlike the opposition Koumintang party which favors warmer ties with Beijing.
Taiwan goes to the polls in January, and the contest is likely to be dominated by relations with China. Critics and analysts say Beijing has stepped up its efforts to spread pro-China messages in Taiwanese media and also through opaque online sources in a bid to influence the outcome.
Previously, former top officials who have access to classified information were banned from visiting China for three years after leaving office. The amended law extends the travel ban to six years.
Alexander Huang, who teaches international relations at Tamkang University in Taiwan and was once deputy minister at Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, said he felt “humiliated” by the law, adding that the restrictions would deter academics from taking up government jobs.
“To a certain degree,” he said,“it shows the Taiwan current government’s lack of trust of its own elite.”


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Updated 25 August 2019

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

  • A woman in her 50s accused Ramadan of raping her along with a member of his staff
  • He has been charged in France with raping two women previously

PARIS: Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.
The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing “threats or acts of intimidation” aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.
Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in late 2017.
He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.
He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.
Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.
The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan’s room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.
She described the alleged attack as being of “untold violence” and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an “offer” of a “professional nature,” without giving details.