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Hsieh quits Taipei city gov't after China visit

TAIPEI -- A former legislator has resigned from her position in the Taipei city government in the wake of a controversial visit she made to China, officials said Thursday.

Hsieh Chi-ta's (謝啟大) resignation was approved by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) earlier in the day, according to city government spokesman Chang Chi chiang (張其強).

Hsieh, who served as a senior specialist in the city government's secretariat, was found to have paid a visit to China in late April without prior approval. Adding to the controversy was a TV interview she gave during the trip, in which she criticized the recent protests in Taiwan against a trade-in-services agreement with China.

Asked by reporters Thursday if Hsieh has violated civil service law, Hau did not give a direct answer, saying only that Hsieh “has assumed her due responsibility” by tendering her resignation.

According to Hsieh, the purpose of her accepting the city government position was to serve the public. She said she has no plans to receive any retirement pension, despite having spent 22 years in the civil service, Hau said.

In a separate news conference, Hsieh issued a brief statement confirming her resignation, saying that she will not receive any retirement pension and “will not allow the media to denigrate my character.”

The former lawmaker appeared to be referring to recent media speculation that she was given the job as a grace and-favor perk, to allow her to get higher retirement pay.

Hsieh served as an elementary school teacher and later as a judge before being elected as a legislator in 1992. She was re-elected twice after that.

After several years in the political wilderness, she began to work at the city government as an executive officer last July and then got promoted to a senior specialist just months before she reached the retirement age of 65 in February.

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Former lawmaker Hsieh Chi-ta's (謝啟大) speaks to the media in Taipei, yesterday. Hsieh resigned from her position in the Taipei City Government in the wake of a controversial visit she made to China, her resignation was approved by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) earlier in the day. (CNA)

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