Fri, Jan 08, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Political donation amendment passes

MEASURES The Act Governing the Management of Human Biological Databases, the Insurance Act, the Civil Code and the Animal Protection Act were also amended

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators yesterday approved an amendment to the Political Donation Act (政治獻金法) relaxing the threshold on the amount of anonymous donations from 10 percent to 30 percent.

The regulation applies retroactively to donations made since last year, the Act says.

However, the amendment also tightened the ban on political donations from companies with foreign capital.

Under the amendment, companies are prohibited from making political donations in Taiwan if more than one-third of their shareholders are from another country, including Hong Kong and China.

The law previously only banned donations from companies in which foreign capital exceeded 50 percent.

Meanwhile, legislators approved the Act Governing the Management of Human Biological Databases (人體生物資料庫管理條例), which obliges database operators to keep participants well informed of how their biological data would be used.

The Act requires operators to inform participants of their rights and benefits, how the data may be collected, possible complications during data gathering and the possible impact the genetic information would have on participants and their communities.

Only adults are allowed to offer biological information to genetic databases.

Data from children aged seven or under can only be collected with the consent of a parent or guardian. To collect information from children aged between seven and 20, operators must obtain written agreement from both the children and their guardians.

Violators are subject to fines of between NT$500,000 (US$15,700) and NT$2.5 million.

The Act stipulates that providers of genetic information have the right to withdraw from the database or refuse to provide more information at any time, while the operators do not have the right to say no.

The operators are also obliged to keep every piece of genetic information on the participants confidential.

The Act prohibits sending ­biological samples to other countries, and the information can only be used for medical research.

Legislators also resolved to ban the judiciary from forcing operators to provide biological information for judicial purposes.

Also passed yesterday was an amendment to the Insurance Act (保險法) preventing insurance companies from paying death benefits for children under the age of 15.

Companies only have to return insurance fees already paid if children die before the age of 15. The amendment was proposed to prevent parents from killing their children for profit.

Legislators also resolved that the Ministry of the Interior should review its regulations to allow children of Chinese spouses from former marriages in China to apply for schools in Taiwan without having to take local entrance examinations.

The ministry sparked a ­controversy by granting the benefit that had been exclusively available to children of overseas scientific or technological talent.

Lawmakers also passed an amendment to the Civil Code (民法), allowing the court to lift the obligation of victims of domestic violence, sexual assaults by parents or grandparents and abandonment to financially support their abusive parents or grandparents.

Legislators also amended the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), subjecting those who publicize, spread or sell images or footage of animal abuse for purposes other than academic research or public welfare to one year in prison and/or a NT$30,000 fine.

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