Tue, Mar 26, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Action pledged on publications from mainland

FREEDOM AND SECURITY Top administration officials yesterday promised a total revision of rules governing the sale of publications from China, which will be completed within months

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) and Government Information Office (GIO) Deputy Director-General Lee Cher-jean (李雪津) promised they would amend regulations to open up the local market to Chinese publications within two months.

The two senior officials made the pledge to lawmakers on the Legislative Interior Committee yesterday.

Meanwhile, the committee passed an amendment to Article 69 of the Statute Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), to allow Chinese investment in Taiwanese real estate.

The amendment was agreed upon by a consensus at the Economic Development Advisory Conference (經發會) last August.

Further, lawmakers on the committee yesterday asked the MAC to propose a draft which thoroughly reviews the statute before the next legislative session, which begins in September.

The issue of lifting the ban on Chinese publications has been in dispute for the past several months. In February, around 5,000 books imported from China by a local bookstore were held by customs for violations of import rules.

According to current rules, publications, movies and radio and television shows produced in China are prohibited from being distributed and sold in Taiwan without first obtaining prior permission from the GIO.

The incident raised the level of concern over the issue and several public hearings have been held since then.

The pressure to open up the local market to publications from China comes mainly from students and academics, who need the material for academic purposes, and publishers who foresee the potential for Chinese publications in Taiwan.

While answering questions raised by PFP lawmaker Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) regarding the issue, Lee said that the GIO is working on a draft to revise current rules.

"We will move gradually toward liberalization. But due to national security concerns, some restrictions will remain" said Lee.

Chen said that as soon as the GIO drafts the bill and delivers it to the MAC for examination, "We will quickly review the regulations."

Although the principle of the revision is to relax the regulations, Chen added, "Publications which advocate communism, undermine public order or well-accepted practices, infringe Taiwan's laws or regulations and bear China's emblems will remain banned."

Another hot issue at the meeting yesterday was on allowing Chinese investment in Taiwanese real estate. The article passed yesterday had been held over from the last legislative session, but was not passed.

Without much opposition, lawmakers yesterday approved the amended article.

The purpose of the amended article, according to MAC Vice Chairman John Deng (鄧振中), is to help boost the domestic economy and promote exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Finally, the committee agreed to ask the MAC to adjust the original statute to be clearly in line with the practices of exchange between Taiwan and China. The proposal was made by KMT lawmaker John Chang (章孝嚴) and DPP lawmaker Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津), and asked that the review be completed by the beginning of the next legislative session.

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