(CNA file photo)
Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) The National Women's League of the Republic of China refuted Friday accusations that it is affiliated to the Kuomintang (KMT) and was long dependent on funds from the military, announcing it will donate most of its assets to public welfare activities.
In a statement the foundation said it will donate NT$28 billion (US$908 million) from its total assets, which are valued at NT$38.1 billion), to government agencies involved in the provision of long-term care, social welfare organizations and Cheng Hsin Hospital in Taipei.
A donation of NT$16 billion will be made to government authorities in charge of providing long-term care services, NT$6 billion to social welfare organizations and NT$6 billion to the hospital, the statement said.
"The National Women's League of the ROC is not affiliated to any political party," the league declared in a statement.
It also explained that the funding -- the so-called "surcharge for charity work for the military (勞軍捐)" -- it received from 1957 to 1989, was in fact "patriotic donations" from the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei, not governmental revenues from taxes.
According to the league, it was set up by the late Soong May-ling (宋美齡), the wife of Generalissimo and President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), in 1950 as a Chinese women's league to combat the Chinese Communists and Russia.
The women's group then launched a national charity movement for the army, focused on the construction of dormitories for the families of soldiers.
As the funds required for the construction project were so large, the business association decided in 1957 to donate money through a surcharge paid on imported commodities, the foundation said.
The surcharge money was distributed under the guidance of the Ministry of National Defense to the Women's League and the Soldiers' Friends' Association, the statement said, noting that the surcharge donation ceased in July 1989 at a time when national security was no longer a major issue.
The Women's League changed its status as a political group in 1990 and changed its name from the Chinese Women's Anti-Communist League. Under the management of Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲), who was appointed the group's chief executive in 1990, the league has changed its focus from charity work for the military to public welfare projects.
Koo, the wife of late business tycoon and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), still serves as the Women's League's chairwoman. She reiterated in a newspaper interview on Thursday that the organization was always affiliated to the ROC not the KMT.
The Women's League has recently become a focus of the government's investigation into the ill-gotten assets of the KMT, now an opposition party.
(By Elizabeth Hsu)