The legislature yesterday approved the referral of draft legislation for promoting transitional justice to a legislative review committee, overcoming opposition from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.
The draft of the transitional justice promotion act had been referred on April 1 to the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee for deliberation, but the KMT caucus called for a “reconsideration” of the referral during a general assembly meeting on Tuesday last week with the aim of blocking the referral of the bill.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus reacted by proposing and passing — with its majority — a change to the agenda on Friday last week, moving the KMT’s reconsideration motion to the top of the discussion agenda to put it to a vote as soon as possible and prevent the KMT caucus’ attempted obstruction.
The floor vote took place yesterday, with the legislature rejecting the reconsideration proposal by a vote of 68 to 24.
The KMT legislators held up placards in the legislative chamber accusing the DPP of “bullying the minority with its political majority” and denying the legitimacy of transitional justice achieved using this kind of “bullying.”
Their placards read: “Populism and bullying have made ‘transitional injustice,’” “Green terror is being carried out in the name of transitional justice” and “the transitional justice promotion committee [to be set up as part of the Executive Yuan] is the DPP’s dongchang [“eastern depot,” 東廠],’” among others.
The dongchang was a secret police unit run by eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty that carried out ruthless arbitrary arrests and interrogations.
DPP legislators held up placards that read: “The KMT is against transitional justice because it wants to protect its party assets” and “The KMT is protecting its party assets and rushing to sell them off.”
KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) told reporters after the vote that the bill is a DPP scheme for “hunting down” another political party.
“President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called for ‘humility, humility and more humility’ after she was elected, but now the DPP is simply ‘hunting down, hunting down and hunting down,’” he said.
“The aim of past organizational restructuring has been trimming down, but now the Executive Yuan is setting up another committee, which will be a waste of taxpayers’ money. If you think there are injustices, you can simply file charges with the judicial and prosecuting agencies, or with the Control Yuan,” Lin said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) questioned the KMT’s sincerity in its call for party reform given that it tried to hinder the review of the transitional justice bill.
“A KMT that has turned into a minority party seems to have changed its mind about reform,” she said. “The DPP is helping the KMT to solve [its own] problems. The bill proposes freezing any ill-gotten party assets. The bill, if passed, would also help Taiwanese find out the truth about their past. How is this ‘bullying the minority’ as the KMT has claimed?”
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said the KMT’s call for a reconsideration of the bill was a deliberate ploy to delay its passage.
“Legislators can still negotiate changes to the bill at the review committee, which could, via deliberation, deliver the ‘greatest consensus,’” Su said.