Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 3 News List

NSB bill meets strong opposition

‘OBVIOUS’ THREAT One lawmaker said the draft bill might constitute a violation of human rights while the NSB said it was meant to limit rather than expand NSB powers

By Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday vowed to block a draft bill that seeks to allow National Security Bureau (NSB) personnel to detain and search anyone who might endanger the safety of an incumbent or retired president when protecting the current or former national leader.

When asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) expressed opposition to the NSB-initiated proposal.

“This should never be allowed. Our caucus will definitely kill the bill,” Chang said.

The draft proposal, which had yet to be put to a preliminary review, would allow the current or former president’s NSB bodyguards to stop and search any person or vehicle if the person were considered by the NSB guards to be an “obvious” threat to the safety of an incumbent or retired president.

The draft proposal would also authorize the NSB officials to detain the person at a certain location for a maximum of three hours.

Chang said the draft bill might constitute a violation of human rights and that it was impossible for the KMT caucus to sacrifice human rights for the sake of the legislation.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) also had reservations regarding the proposal, saying that many legislators had voiced their opposition to it.

He urged all lawmakers to deliberate over how the NSB could ensure human rights while maintaining public order and protecting the current or retired president.

When approached by reporters in the legislature, Chen Ping-lin (陳炳林), director of the NSB’s Law and Regulation Committee, defended the draft bill, saying that the proposal was meant to limit rather than expand the power of NSB officials.

Chen said NSB officials would only enjoy the authority stipulated in the proposal under emergent circumstances or when the security of the incumbent or former president was breached.

Chang Kan-ping (張勘平), deputy director of the NSB’s secret service center, said the bill would not empower the NSB to detain anyone, adding that if the bill were passed, the NSB would hand over any personnel suspected of threatening the safety of the incumbent or retired president to the police.

Meanwhile, the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee yesterday decided to slash NT$10 million (US$312,500) from the NSB’s annual budget for next year as punishment for the incident that saw China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) manhandled by protesters in Tainan last week.

Domestic Intelligence Department Director Lin Hui-yang (林惠陽) attended yesterday’s meeting on behalf of the NSB.

In response to the decision to cut the NSB’s budget, Lin said that the incident happened because Zhang decided to visit the Confucius Temple, the site of the incident, on his own rather than staying with his delegation.

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