Amendments to the National Security Act (國家安全法) that impose higher sentences and fines on people spying for China or other nations, and increase restrictions on retired officials visiting China were yesterday passed by the legislature.
Those found recruiting others in Taiwan under instructions from the Chinese government would be subject to at least seven years in prison and a fine of up to NT$100 million (US$3.19 million) under the amendments.
Those conducting espionage by using the Internet would also be subject to the new penalties.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
People employed by the military, the civil service, state-run enterprises or public-school teachers who are convicted for contravening the act would lose their pension, while those who have already retired and have received pension benefits would be required to return all the funds paid up to the date of their conviction.
Supplementary resolutions on the issues of how to define China, Macau and Hong Kong within the rubric of “hostile foreign forces,” and how to determine whether disseminated communications from people from those regions or other nations constitute a national threat are to be determined during the next legislative session, the Democratic Progressive Party and New Power Party caucuses said.
Those issues would be addressed through amendments 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), as well as the relevant communications laws, they said.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday morning called a cross-caucus meeting to discuss amendments to Articles 2-1 and 5-1, and the additions of Articles 2-2 and 5-2 to the National Security Act.
The biggest developments that came out of the three-hour meeting were the increase in fines and imprison sentences specified in Article 5-1 and the way China, which is considered the greatest threat to national security, is defined in Article 2-1, legislators said.
The amended law would target those found establishing, financially supporting or directing organizations for the interests of a foreign power, they said.
It would also target those found probing, leaking or transmitting documents, images, electronic files or other items related to national security, they added.
Those found guilty of the above offenses specifically to help the Chinese government would face a minimum of seven years in prison and a fine of between NT$50 million and NT$100 million, while those guilty of helping the governments of other nations would by subject to between three and 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of NT$30 million, they said, adding that attempted offenses would also be punishable under the amended act.
Those who admit to committing the offenses would receive lighter sentences or exemptions, they said.
All proceeds paid to collaborators by foreign governments would be confiscated, they said.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
WELCOME BACK: Foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can now directly apply for a visa with representative offices overseas, the CECC said Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s