Taipei — The so called "Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission" (MTAC) will be dissolved by the end of August this year, Taiwanese media reported, citing an official from the Taiwan Executive Yuan this week.
Minister without Portfolio Hsu Jan-yau claimed that "after the commission is shut down, part of its responsibilities will be transferred to the Mainland Affairs Council's (MAC) Department of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, which will take the new name of the Department of Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia and Tibet," that means several other controversial issues remain to be resolved.
As for the commission's staff members, 49 will be re-assigned to the Ministry of Culture and Mainland Affairs Council, six of whom will be transferred to the new department, while the remaining 43 will be transferred to the newly established "Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Center" in Taipei, said Hsu.
"The 2017 budget for the MTAC was NT$115 million, and the remainder of those funds will be transferred to the Mainland Affairs Council and Ministry of Culture," he said, added that "as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handles relations and exchanges with Mongolia, some of the budget will be allocated to that ministry as well."
As part of its plans to phase out the commission, the Executive Yuan did not allocate a budget for MTAC for 2018. Citing from the Taiwanese Executive Yuan official source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the report said that "as long as the transfer of staff and duties from the MTAC to the other ministries goes smoothly, the disbanding of the organization should be completed by the end of August this year. "
"Before submitting its budget plan for 2018, the Cabinet will submit a bill to the the Legislative Yuan formally calling for the formal abolishment of the MTAC, according to Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung, the report added.
The report further said that "there are currently 472 Mongolians and 648 Tibetans living in Taiwan on a permanent basis who received services from the MTAC. These residents will continue to receive services under the government agencies that are receiving the MTAC's duties and staff. "
Meanwhile, the changes comes following a new democratically elected leadership in Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen had refused to accept the "1992 consensus" and its one-China principle, which the communist regime China insists is the sole political basis for continued exchanges with the new political ledership of Taiwan.
"Originally a bureau under the interior ministry, the MTAC was elevated to its current level in 1928 – when the Republic of China (ROC) government still ruled mainland China – to deal with Mongolian and Tibetan affairs." Unlike provinces dominated by a mostly Chinese population, Mongolia and Tibet are both designated a “region” under the ROC Constitution, a Taiwanese media reported last year.
The cabinet-level MTAC, which has for long, until the early 1990s, been accused of bankrolling disgruntled groups and elements in the Tibetan community to create discord within it, now set to be dissolved or merged with another department.
The controversial commission has lost its relevance and importance after President Lee Teng-hui who steered Taiwan towards a real democracy and invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet at the time, to Taiwan.
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was reported to have argued that it was “no longer necessary” to have a commission to deal with matters relating to Mongolians and Tibetans since Mongolia was now an independent country while Tibet was seeking to gain similar status.
Despite MTAC's arrogant claims of PRC's sovereignty over Tibet, Taiwan nationality laws did not allow Tibetan refugees to obtain citizenship through legal channels, thus contradicting their claims. The information presented in the most recent reports indicate that Tibetan refugees living in Taiwan have been left untreated and uncared for, as they had left behind crucial papers such as medical certificates, passports and ID cards when they were forced to abandon their homes in Tibet.
Recently it appears there is hope for Tibetans living in the country, as the issue was reportedly raised in Taiwan's parliament and many parliamentarians expressed their concern for the situation of Tibetans.