Thu, Mar 14, 2002 - Page 3 News List

GIO to hold hearing about restrictions of China's publications

OUT WITH THE OLD Saying that rules are `a product of a bygone era,' the director-general of the GIO said that the regulations should be updated to reflect the state of cross-strait ties

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amid a public row over the banning of publications from China, Director General of the Government Information Office (GIO) Arthur Iap (葉國興) yesterday vowed to hold a public hearing to seek ways to adjust the related regulations.

"The existing regulations are a product of a bygone era," Iap said at the Legislative Yuan.

"Cross-strait relations are in a fluid state, and we should adjust our laws and regulations in accordance with the tempo of interactions [between the two sides]," Iap added.

Iap said a related public hearing is scheduled before the end of this week to review the existing rules.

The regulations are spelled out in Article 37 of the Statute Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) and include related rules promulgated by the GIO.

Iap's made the comments in response to questions from lawmakers, including Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) of the DPP and Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) of the PFP, who questioned the GIO's recent strengthening of the rules banning the sale of publications from China.

Chien described the ban as an attempt at "burying one's head in the sand (掩耳盜鈴)," even as publications from across the Strait reach readers in Taiwan by other means, chiefly through the Internet.

Pang also said "it's a fact" that sales of publications imported from China have been brisk, especially in areas surrounding National Taiwan University.

"The statute was enacted some 10 years ago, and it's time to amend the regulations," Pang said.

The article stipulates that publications, films, videos, broadcasts and TV programs from China may not enter Taiwan, be published, be put into circulation, or be produced or broadcast in Taiwan without government permission.

Iap said that the GIO will have to take into account national security, the protection of local publishers' rights, as well as the demand of consumers when contemplating related adjustments to the regulations.

According to GIO officials, the office normally gives the green light to applications from academic institutions and individuals for the import of publications from China.

The sale of publications from China in the local market, however, went against related regulations, officials said.

The statute, the most significant piece of legislation in Taiwan governing the country's relations with China, was promulgated in September 1992, and covered administrative, civil and criminal affairs between the two sides of the Strait.

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