Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Improving cross-strait legal affairs

By Su Yiu-chen 蘇友辰

However, although the agreement is praiseworthy for the efforts it makes to promote peaceful cross-strait development, its provisions regarding humanitarian family visits are too conservative and restrictive.

There is also the issue of whether lawyers appointed by the Taiwanese side are allowed to assist detained suspects and imprisoned convicts in China by visiting them to make sure they are being treated in accordance with basic standards.

These issues could be included under the category of reciprocal judicial assistance and covered by new provisions that are more legally binding.

There is also the issue of whether disputes between investors and the government can be passed on to a third party for arbitration. In this area, Taipei should consider making strategic concessions and adjustments, for example by allowing arbitration in Hong Kong or Macau.

Taiwan should actively seek opportunities to restart negotiations on judicial assistance to provide more options and ensure reciprocal assistance works better.

To this end, Taiwan’s Chinese Association for Human Rights is arranging exchanges with its counterpart, the China Society for Human Rights Studies.

The aforementioned issues of human rights and business disputes are scheduled to be major focal points for discussion between the two associations.

The Taiwanese side will also seek to visit prisons in the Beijing municipality to find out more about how Taiwanese are treated after being detained or convicted and imprisoned. We intend to establish channels of communication and try and ensure that detainees and prisoners are treated more in line with the safeguards and standards laid out in international human-rights conventions.

Su Yiu-chen is chairman of the Chinese Association for Human Rights.

Translated by Drew Cameron

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