President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) latest nominations for grand justices drew criticism yesterday, as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and civic groups questioned not only his right to nominate candidates, but also whether a judge who acquitted him in a corruption case is an appropriate nominee.
“The tenures of grand justices and the president have been designed in such a way so as to avoid having one president recommend candidates for the Council of Grand Justices twice” during his or her term in office, Taiwan Jury Association chairman Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文龍) told a news conference in the legislature yesterday morning.
“After making all these nominations, the Council of Grand Justices would be Ma’s Council of Grand Justices, and we would have an authoritarian constitutional system,” Cheng said.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
Based on the current system, seven of the 15 grand justices are to serve four years, while the other four would serve eight years to avoid having one president nominate all sitting grand justices, Cheng said.
The candidates have to be confirmed by the legislature.
“Due to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) boycott of the four nominees made by the previous president, Ma was able to nominate 11 grand justices in 2008,” Cheng said. “If he nominates four more, all 15 of them would be Ma’s nominees.”
DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) agreed, urging Ma to withdraw his nominations to allow the next president, who is to be elected next year, to do so.
“Otherwise, it would create chaos in society,” she said.
Citizens’ Congress Watch executive director Chang Hung-lin (張宏林) urged legislators to reject the four nominees: lawyer Huang Horng-shya (黃虹霞), Deputy Minister of Justice Wu Chen-huan (吳陳鐶), National Taiwan University law professor Tsai Ming-cheng (蔡明誠) and Shilin District Court President Lin Jyun-yi (林俊益).
Aside from the constitutional issue, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) questioned Ma’s choice of Lin, a former Supreme Court judge who acquitted Ma of corruption charges in connection with the use of his special allowance during his stint as Taipei mayor.
“It is obvious that Ma is trying to pay Lin back by nominating him as a grand justice,” Huang said.
In response to the criticism, Ma said that it is his constitutional obligation to nominate grand justices when the seats become vacant.
“The president or the legislature would be acting unconstitutionally if we fail to fulfill our constitutional duties,” he said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Charles Chen (陳以信) said the candidates have been recommended by a special review commission, and the president was merely making nominations accordingly.
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),