Wed, Jul 13, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Legislature moves to abolish Red Cross Society Act

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday passed a resolution to abolish the Red Cross Society Act of the Republic of China (中華民國紅十字會法).

After much hubbub following the New Power Party (NPP) caucus’ proposal to abolish the act in March, the legislature, with the support of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the NPP caucuses, made a final decision on the motion yesterday evening.

Toward the end of yesterday’s floor meeting, the NPP caucus proposed and, with the DPP caucus’ support, passed an extension of the meeting to get to the motion calling for the abolition of the act.

The resolution received 45 votes of support out of a total of 54 votes cast, with the remainder all cast by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers against the abolition.

Various KMT lawmakers took turns to speak on the podium in front of the general assembly before the vote.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) accused the DPP of launching a “political vendetta” after taking power on May 20, which he said extended “even to a social welfare group that has been labeled a subsidiary of the KMT.”

He accused the DPP and the NPP of carrying out an “extermination” plan against the Red Cross for political gain based on the mentality of the independence-unification divide.

“They want to establish a Taiwan Red Cross Society and get rid of the Republic of China’s,” Lai said.

KMT legislators Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Lin Te-fu (林德福), Arthur Chen (陳宜民) and Alicia Wang (王育敏) all said there was no need to abolish the act, as amendments would suffice to rid the Red Cross society of its controversial aspects.

DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said the aim was to abolish the Red Cross’ “privileged special act.”

“Stop saying that the abolition of the act is to exterminate the society, as the group can continue to exist in accordance with the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) and the Charity Donations Act (公益勸募條例),” Wu said.

NPP Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said abolition was the first step toward helping the Red Cross “get back on the right track.”

The legislature yesterday also passed an overhaul of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), one amendment of which DPP Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said gave it “teeth.”

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said four major areas of reform would prohibit the intentional damaging of heritage sites.

“The first is ‘cultural equality,’ which means that all people have the right to initiate a review process to determine the status of a supposed heritage site,” Kuan said. “The second is that, if a government agency fails to manage a heritage site it is responsible for managing, it can be transferred to another agency at zero cost.”

“The third is to guarantee that any supposed heritage site, once a review process has been initiated, would be protected as historical site,” Kuan said.

“The fourth is an absolute guarantee of punishment if one damages a historical site. The minimum jail sentence would be six months,” she added.

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