The Presidential Office yesterday issued a formal notification to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) informing them that they must observe an additional two years of restrictions on visiting China, in line with amendments to the National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).
The amendments, passed on Tuesday last week, allow agencies that handle confidential information to add up to three years to an existing three-year travel restriction on former officials entrusted with state secrets.
The period may be extended once, but not shortened, the amendments say.
The regulations also automatically apply to presidents and vice presidents, who previously only had to observe a two-year travel restriction period, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.
The extension of the travel restriction applies to civil servants who worked under the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration and those working for the current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, he said.
Ma’s office issued a statement saying that the Presidential Office has arbitrarily extended the travel restriction, which it called a blatant infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement.
Ma has not contravened any of the act’s clauses, much less leaked classified information, the statement said, adding that the amendments were obviously targeted at the former president and undermine democratic values.
The DPP is using legislation as a tool to maintain its grip on power, Wu wrote on Facebook, adding that the amendments were politically motivated.
Remaining in power is the DPP’s sole focus, and its blatant disregard for democracy and the rule of law is why it should not continue to be in power, he said.
Wu had yesterday applied to visit China for a June 19 forum between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, a source said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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