Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday accused the Central Election Commission (CEC) of overstepping its purview after it last week asked Hau to clarify the question for a referendum he initiated regarding food imports from Japan.
The referendum asks for people’s views on importing food products from five Japanese prefectures that have been banned since the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.
The referendum drive, launched by Hau in December 2016, last month passed the initiation stage and is under review by the CEC, which last week asked Hau to clarify the question.
In its letter to Hau, the CEC said that South Korea, which has imposed a similar ban on potentially radiation-contaminated food products from Japan, is entangled in an international lawsuit with Japan, which accused South Korea of breaching the WHO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
Hau should address the possibility that Taiwan breached international regulations and might incur a lawsuit if the referendum is passed, the CEC said.
At a news conference in Taipei, Hau said the CEC’s letter was “beyond comprehension and most reproachable.”
The result of the lawsuit between Japan and South Korea would not have any legal effects on Taiwan’s decisionmaking, he said.
The referendum review committee was abolished after amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) were passed in December last year, meaning that the CEC no longer has the right to review the content of a proposed referendum and can only ask a proposer to correct personal information regarding themselves or to gather the legally required number of signatures to pass the initiation or reconfirmation stages, Hau said.
The CEC has used red tape to obstruct the initiative, Hau said, referring to a provision cited by the CEC that says the proposer of a drive must submit follow-up information on a referendum question within 30 days of notification if it considers the question to be obscure.
KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) accused CEC members of being Japan’s lackeys for using the South Korean lawsuit as the reason for asking Hau to submit follow-up information.
“Why do you give a damn [about the lawsuit]?” Fai said.
If the CEC is worried about Hau’s referendum affecting the nation’s relationship with Japan, it should not have allowed the initiation of Olympic medalist Chi Cheng’s (紀政) referendum asking people whether they think the nation’s athletes should use the name “Taiwan” in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, KMT Legislator Lai shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.
If Chi’s referendum is approved, it would result in the team’s disqualification in today’s international political climate, he said.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
‘NOT COLD ENOUGH’: Schools are disregarding Premier Su Tseng-chang’s instruction that students may wear out-of-uniform clothing to stay warm, an association said An investigative report revealed that 72.5 percent of the nation’s senior-high schools and 95.6 percent of junior-high schools punish students for wearing unapproved winter clothes in contravention of educational guidelines, lawmakers and student rights advocates said yesterday. Speaking at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said there is an endemic disregard for the Ministry of Education’s regulations and that private schools are more likely to contravene ministry rules. The report is a compilation of 2,856 student reports about dress code reinforcement at 425 high schools and vocational high schools, the association said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to