Legislative efforts to deter retired military officials from engaging in activities in China that hurt the nation’s international standing have been stymied as lawmakers wait for the Executive Yuan to submit a proposed amendment to the Legislative Yuan.
The first such incident to gain widespread coverage involved former Veterans Affairs Council deputy minister Hsu Li-nung (許歷農) and 22 other veterans who visited China in April 2010, followed closely by a delegation of 57 retired generals led by former deputy minister of national defense Wang Wen-hsieh (王文燮), which visited a temple dedicated to the Yellow Emperor.
The following month, retired admiral Huang Hsin-chiang (黃幸強) and 26 former top brass took part in a golf event with Chinese officials.
While then-president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration repeatedly urged senior retirees not to visit China, former National Defense University president Hsia Ying-chou (夏瀛洲) was quoted as saying “the Republic of China [ROC]} Army and the People’s Liberation Army are both staffed for the reunification of the Zhonghua minzu [Chinese ethnic group, 中華民族].”
Hsia’s comments prompted Taiwan Solidarity Union and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators to call for amending the Act of Military Service for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例) to cancel the pensions of veterans who have contact with Chinese authorities.
Former minister of national defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) in May 2013 proposed amending an executive order to extend the waiting period for retired military personnel planning to visit China.
However, neither proposal gained traction and such problems have continued, such as a commemorative event in Beijing for Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) attended by 37 retired generals from Taiwan that included a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
That incident led to lawmakers proposing amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).
One version proposed by DPP Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) calls for the cancelation of pensions for veterans who take part in China-led political activities and whose actions are disloyal to the ROC.
DPP Legislator Wang Ding-yu’s (王定宇) version calls for a maximum prison term of three years for veterans who disregard the waiting period for visits to China, and would cancel the pensions of retired military who attend activities in China that are arranged with an “united front” tactic.
DPP legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) and New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) submitted similar proposals.
However, the Executive Yuan reportedly wants to avoid canceling pensions and is leaning toward a maximum fine of NT$2 million (US$66,386).
Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) yesterday said that its draft proposal is largely completed, but the details are being polished.
The Cabinet is reportedly due to submit its proposal when the new legislative session starts in September.
Additional reporting by Aaron Tu
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