The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday proposed amendments that would subject Taiwanese who lobby for Chinese political interests to prison sentences of up to three years and fines of NT$500,000 to NT$5 million (US$15,893 to US$158,932).
Under the drafts 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), Taiwanese individuals and organizations would be banned from lobbying for the political interests of the Chinese government, political parties or organizations that might affect Taiwan’s national security or interests, NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) told a news conference.
While the 2007 Lobbying Act (遊說法) already bans Chinese individuals and organizations from lobbying for their political interests or having others lobby on their behalf, the provision does not entail any punishment and is “almost useless,” Huang said.
While a number of officials have advocated the introduction of a law similar to the US’ Foreign Agents Registration Act, mere transparency would not be sufficient for Taiwan, he said.
The US act, passed in 1938, requires individuals and organizations controlled by foreign governments or organizations to disclose such connections, as well as information about their activities and finances, Huang added.
The drafts are part of a series of amendments proposed by the NPP to enhance protection of the nation’s democracy and security against Chinese infiltration, NPP caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.
The party has also proposed amendments to broadcasting laws and the National Security Act (國家安全法) to tighten regulations on media companies controlled by the Chinese government or organizations, and on publishing Chinese Communist Party propaganda, he added.
As many bills are still under review with the legislative session expected to end in a few weeks, Hsu said that he hopes Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) would extend the session to allow more time for discussion.
“In her speech [on Monday] to mark her inauguration anniversary, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) listed protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty as one of her major achievements,” he said.
Since all three draft amendments are in line with that goal, they should receive support from legislators across party lines and pass soon, Hsu added.
TWEET CONFIRMED: The US’ Morgan Ortagus backed up Taiwan, saying China only admitted that human-to-human transmission was possible as late as Jan. 20 Taiwan warned the WHO and China about possible human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus at the end of last year, but the global health body did not make it public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) made the remark at a news briefing in Taipei, when asked about statements made by US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. “Dec. 31— that’s the same day Taiwan first tried to warn WHO of human-human transmission. Chinese authorities meanwhile silenced doctors and refused to admit human-human transmission until Jan. 20, with catastrophic consequences,” Ortagus wrote on
ON THE LOOKOUT: A Lockheed EP-3 reconnaissance plane was yesterday seen flying southwest of Kaohsiung, according to Twitter account ‘Aircraft Spots’ A Twitter account that tracks military aircraft movements has indicated an increase in US military activity near Taiwan, coinciding with an increase in Chinese military activity in the area. Planes from the US Seventh Fleet have been sighted frequently above the South China Sea in the past several days, and a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane was seen flying close to Taiwanese airspace southwest of Kaohsiung yesterday, according to posts by the Twitter account Aircraft Spots. The EP-3 was seen circling above the same area, Aircraft Spots said, adding that other planes from the fleet were seen in the past few days
A Taipei resident who had breached his home quarantine order was found on Tuesday night in an Internet cafe and fined NT$1 million (US$32,976), Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday, as the Taipei City Government announced a short-term COVID-19 relief plan. Huang on Tuesday afternoon publicized the name of the man, Chen Tse (陳冊), who on Saturday last week returned from Beijing and was ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine. However, city monitoring officials were unable to contact him by mobile phone or at his home. Chen was found by police at an Internet cafe on Nanyang Street, Huang said
ACCLIMATION: Chen Shih-chung said that only ‘soft’ policies have been carried out so far, but ‘hard’ measures would be implemented if the coronavirus situation worsens The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday recommended that indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be canceled, as 19 new imported cases of COVID-19 were announced, bringing the total number in Taiwan to 235. “The center recommends that from now, indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events with more than 500 people should be suspended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 community transmission,” said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center. Event organizers should refer to six indicators listed in the response guidelines