Mon, Sep 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet designates three priority bills

SECURITY:The premier is to lunch with the DPP caucus on Friday to discuss the bills, one of which would bar retired generals from attending political activities in China for 15 years

By Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff reporter

Three bills designed to strengthen national security have been listed by the Executive Yuan as priority bills for the next legislative session, which is scheduled to begin later this month.

Sources with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity, said that the priority bills include an amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) to increase penalties for Chinese nationals, organizations or institutions that invest in Taiwan under the guise of a foreign investor from another nation.

Article 73 of the act bars any person on entity in China, or any company it invests in any third area, from any investment activity in Taiwan, unless permitted by the authorities.

Those who contravene the law are liable for a fine ranging from NT$120,000 to NT$600,000 (US$3,899 to US$19,496).

The proposed amendment would raise the maximum fine to NT$25 million.

The second priority bill, another amendment to the same act, would bar retired generals, directors of intelligence agencies, and ministers and deputy ministers of agencies with access to sensitive security information from attending political activities hosted by senior Chinese officials, paying tribute to the flag or political symbols of China, or behaving in ways that damage Taiwan’s dignity, for 15 years after their retirement.

Those who contravene the restriction would risk losing part of or their entire pension.

The bill was shelved during the previous legislative session as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers struggled to pass a pension reform bill for retired military personnel.

The Executive Yuan would work to ensure that it clears the legislative floor in the new legislative session, the sources said.

The third priority bill contains proposed amendments to the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) that would increase the number of years that retired military brass are banned from traveling to China from one to three years to three to six years.

The bill passed its first reading in March.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is scheduled to have a lunch meeting with DPP lawmakers on Friday to discuss the Cabinet’s priority bills with the party’s caucus.

Some DPP lawmakers have proposed other draft amendments to strengthen national security.

One, submitted by Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and others, would amend Article 5-2 of the National Security Act (國家安全法) so that retired officials could be stripped of their pensions if they are convicted of espionage.

They would also be required to return any pension funds they received during the time the espionage was committed.

However, the Executive Yuan is still soliciting the opinions of national security agencies before it makes a decision on whether to earmark that proposed amendment as one of its priority bills, the sources said.

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