Wed, Jul 06, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Hundreds protest proposal to scrap the Red Cross Act

READY FOR A FIGHT:Red Cross Society of the Republic of China president Wang Ching-feng said if the act is abolished she would request a constitutional interpretation

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China march outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday in a protest against a proposal to abolish a law governing the organization’s operations.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Members of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China yesterday rallied outside the legislature in Taipei to protest against the pan-green camp’s proposals to abolish a special act governing the organization’s operations.

About 300 members from the society’s chapters nationwide participated in the protest, with some coming from Hualien and outlying Kinmen county.

Shouting slogans, the protesters said the law could be amended, but that it must not be nullified, as they called for social “stigma” to be dismissed.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and New Power Party (NPP) legislators have proposed abolishing the Red Cross Society Act of the Republic of China (中華民國紅十字會法) over perceived loopholes they say have made the organization an offshoot of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), created unfair stratification for younger members and allowed it to avoid public scrutiny when appropriating donations.

Several KMT legislators took to the stage to give speeches in support of the society.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said he is against the “lame” political persecution launched by the pan-green camp against the society, adding that all 35 KMT lawmakers would attempt to block the passage of the bill.

KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) said that abolishing the act would be a mistake, as more than 150 nations have promulgated special legislation for the Red Cross.

KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) lauded the society’s efforts to rescue people during emergencies, adding that, with the number of lives the society has saved, its members should go to heaven, but the pan-green camp is attempting to send them to hell.

“I wonder why ‘Big Green’ DPP and ‘Little Green’ NPP are so eager to get rid of you... Society has been inverted. What was good is now evil, and what was evil is now good,” Apollo Chen said.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said that the act must not be abolished and the society must not be disbanded, as the organization has served as an important channel for the nation to boost its international space by participating in international relief efforts.

Following a discussion with the DPP caucus in May, the Executive Yuan said that it was positioned to “retain the organization, but abolish the special act.”

Society president Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) said that the Red Cross’ government-appointed directors and supervisors could be removed in the wake of criticism that there are KMT-appointed “guardians” in the organization.

She said if the public does not like the rule allowing the organization’s president to serve unlimited terms, the act could be changed to limit the number of terms the vice president can serve to one.

If the public has doubts over the way donations are spent during emergencies, the act could be amended to include provisions stipulating how the money is to be spent, she added.

Wang Ching-feng said she would request a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices if the act is abolished, adding that she would retire if the act is amended or abolished.

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