The legislature's defense committee yesterday agreed to new regulations on the classification of military secrets after the Ministry of National Defense compromised on the definition of what constitutes a military secret.
The ministry had been criticized by lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition camps for making a broad interpretation of what constituted a secret. The ministry's definition would have covered almost everything related to the military, from a general's personal background to the purchase and development of weapons systems.
The amended regulations will act as a guideline for the military for cases involving secrets being compromised by active-duty military personnel and civilians.
They are administrative orders. Violators of these orders will be punished according to the armed forces criminal law, which was passed in 2001.
With the endorsement of the legislature, the ministry is now ready to abolish decades-old regulations governing military secrets.
A senior defense official said the new regulations might be too broad in terms of what constitutes a military secret, but that the old regulations are even worse as they leave greater discretion to the ministry.
The ministry developed the first version of the new regulations in the middle of last year, sending it at the end of that year to the legislature for endorsement.
That version was rejected by the defense committee on the ground that its definition of secrets was too broad.
Ten months later, a modified version was submitted to the defense committee.
As the regulations were being reviewed yesterday, a fierce debate broke out between lawmakers and defense officials.
PFP Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) asked officials representing the ministry why a general's personal background should be considered confidential.
"Is there any secrecy about a general's personal background? We can easily get such information about a US military leader from relevant Web sites," Lin said.
Lieutenant-General Chen Ti-tuan (陳體端), administrative deputy defense minister, said the enemy might be interested in such information. But in later talks with lawmakers, Chen agreed that there was no need to hide such information.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how