The Ministry of the Interior has refused to approve the application of a civic association because the association did not include either “the Republic of China (ROC)” or “Taiwan” in its name, founders of the group said yesterday, adding that they would like the ministry to reject the application.
In its replies to applications submitted by the Taiwan Citizen Union (TCU) on March 31 and April 14, the ministry twice demanded that the organization to revise its name by adding “society” (社, 學會) or “association” (會, 協會, 協進會) as well as either “ROC” or “Taiwan,” TCU cofounder Lin Feng-cheng (林峰正) said on the union’s Facebook page.
“The ministry has gone beyond its authority in its handling of the case because the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) does not limit the names of civil groups. We demand that the ministry reject our application so that we can file an administrative lawsuit,” Lin said, adding that he could not find anything in the act about the naming rule.
Any name should be allowed as long as it does not violate social norms, Lin Feng-cheng said, adding that the union would keep submitting applications until the ministry rejects the application.
While Article 5 of the act stipulates that the organizational area of a civic association shall refer to the corresponding administrative region, Lin said that Constitutional Interpretation No. 479 of the Council of Grand Justices in April 1999 ruled the restriction unconstitutional.
The court said in the interpretation that the act “does not specify ways that people’s organizations shall be named” and requiring associations be named in accordance with their administrative areas “goes far beyond the mandate” and “infringes upon the peoples’ freedom of association guaranteed by the Constitution and shall be declared null and void.”
The union was cofounded by Lin, a lawyer, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), professor and Taiwan Rural Front president Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮), Michael Lin (林世煜), an academic specializing in the White Terror era, and others.
The idea to establish the union, which was not originally intended to become a conventional political party, was first brought up in January.
However, the group has since said it might nominate candidates in the 2016 legislative elections.