Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: ‘Civil war’ to decide Taiwan’s fate

In July, the Cabinet approved a draft amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) stipulating that high-ranking military officers and civil servants are not allowed within 15 years after their retirement to take part in celebratory events or other political activities presided over by China’s leaders, or to salute flags, emblems or songs that represent China, or sing or recite the words of such songs.

For those who break this rule, the amendment stipulates that a certain portion of their monthly pension payments may be deducted for a period of five years. For those deemed to have committed serious infractions, their monthly pension payments may be canceled permanently, starting from the date on which their banned behavior took place.

Apart from the Cabinet’s draft amendment, many legislators have made other proposals, but so far the legislature has not discussed or approved any of them.

Meanwhile, the disturbance at the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival” on National Taiwan University’s campus on Sept. 24 exposed the problem of China’s use of gangsters to oppose Taiwanese independence and promote unification. Apart from carrying out police raids against gangs, Taiwan must act swiftly to close the legal loopholes they have been using. Taiwan’s democratic process really needs to move faster and get things done.

Two days after the incident at the music festival, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) held a news conference, saying that some people acting under the guise of political groups are carrying out the mission of destabilizing Taiwan on behalf of China, but they cannot be charged with the offense of treason under the Criminal Code.

Wang said that when Taiwanese commit offenses related to the chapter of the Criminal Code that concerns treason, they can only be prosecuted under the National Security Act (國家安全法) or the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法). This means that even if retired high-ranking military officers build spy networks for China, they can only be prosecuted under the National Security Act, which imposes relatively light penalties.

The articles of the Criminal Code concerning the offense of treason are limited to what it calls “foreign states” and “enemy states,” and are thus hemmed in by the controversy over the national status of China and “our side,” as a result of which these articles are often found to be inapplicable.

Wang said that the wording of the Criminal Code should be changed from “enemy state” to “enemy,” in line with the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍刑法), and that a new article 115-1 should be added to the Criminal Code defining “enemy” as “any country or organization that engages in or whose force confronts the Republic of China,” which is the wording used in Article 10 of the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces. However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has blocked all such draft amendments time and again.

Taiwan’s inability to take effective action over treason reflects the tangled question of its national status. Answering legislators’ questions on Tuesday last week, Premier William Lai (賴清德) openly said that he is “a political worker who supports Taiwan independence” and that “Taiwan is a sovereign independent state.”

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