Lawmakers are slated this week to vote on a proposed amendment that would ban high-ranking officials and military officers from attending official events in China that are deemed injurious to Taiwan’s national dignity.
The third reading of proposed 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) could begin as early as Wednesday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday.
The DPP lawmakers have reached broad agreement over regulatory issues, including property rights, income tax, import excises and returning Taiwanese enterprises, with legal drafts more or less “settled” since June 21, he said.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times
However, the draft amendment banning former high-ranking officials from attending Chinese state events is undergoing revision, he said.
In the original proposal, such officials would be allowed to take part in Chinese state events if they have been retired for at least 15 years, but DPP lawmakers feel the restriction is inadequate and should be changed to a lifetime ban, he said.
DPP legislators have achieved “a high degree of consensus” on the issue and the caucus is in the process of incorporating the lifetime ban in the draft, which is being coordinated and finalized with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), he said.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) was responsible for the motion to strike out the 15-year limit, which DPP lawmakers Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) and Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) supported.
“There should be no tolerance for behavior that brings disgrace to the country, no matter how long an official has been retired for,” Lee said.
The bill, in its current form, applies restrictions to retired officials with the rank of deputy minister or above, whose work involved defense, national security, foreign affairs or China; and retired officers with the rank of lieutenant general or above.
The proposed amendment to the bill would forbid gestures in honor of symbols representing the Chinese state or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or participation in events held by the Chinese government, its leaders, military, intelligence or administrative apparatus, or its political affiliates.
Penalties for contravening the proposed amendment range from the deprivation of a pension or a fine of no more than NT$5 million (US$160,917) for those not receiving a pension.
In a bid to counter Chinese espionage and influence campaigns in Taiwan, DPP lawmakers have passed numerous national security bills, including amendments to the National Security Act (國家安全法) on June 19 that impose a minimum sentence of seven years for Chinese spies and raise the maximum fine for the crime to NT$100 million.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on