Sun, Mar 22, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Forum calls for progress on oversight bill passage

CRITICAL POINTS:Discussion on the proposals focused on the wording used to define cross-strait relations, their stance on human rights and Legislative Yuan authority

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Police put up barriers outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday as the Civil Alliance for the Promotion of Constitutional Government organized a grassroots meeting on Jinan Rd, next to the building.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

As the nation commemorates the anniversary of the Sunflower movement, civic groups are calling for renewed attention on the legislative progress of a proposed cross-strait agreement oversight bill.

The passage of an oversight bill was one of the three main demands of last year’s landmark protests, which were triggered by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung’s (張慶忠) attempt to ram through the proposed service trade pact with China within 30 seconds.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in March and early April last year, demanding an oversight bill that would set clear legal parameters for future cross-strait negotiations.

With eight versions of the proposed oversight bill currently under legislative review, civic groups yesterday held a public forum outside of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei last night, inviting members of the public to participate in discussions on the issue.

While the Executive Yuan has been touting its own version of the oversight bill, civic groups and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that the government’s version lacked teeth and “failed to provide any meaningful oversight.”

The remaining seven versions were proposed by: the DPP legislative caucus; the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus; KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣); DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元); DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君); DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智); and a joint proposal by DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and civic groups.

The Economic Democracy Union, the main organizer of the forum, said that the Mainland Affairs Council declined its invitation to attend the event on the grounds that it had already hosted an online public forum on Wednesday night.

About 150 people trickled into the forum’s outdoor venue last night to participate in the event, which featured the four DPP legislators explaining their version of the act, as well as TSU caucus whip Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌).

The forum converged on a discussion of three issues: the oversight bill’s wording in defining cross-strait relations; the bill’s stance on human rights issues; and its provisions on the Legislative Yuan’s authority in monitoring cross-strait negotiations.

Taiwan Democracy Watch convener Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) said that the Executive Yuan’s version was detrimental to the nation’s sovereignty, as it classified Taiwan and China as parts of the same country under the KMT’s framework of “one country, two areas.”

He said versions that defined the two entities simply as China and Taiwan were acceptable, while versions employing the terms “People’s Republic of China” and “Republic of China” should be considered as “the bottom line.”

Cheng said that the oversight bill has been stuck in limbo at the Legislative Yuan’s plenary session, saying that the executive yuan’s refusal to withdraw its version of the oversight bill has prevented further substantive discussions

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