Tue, Sep 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

New session expected to see lawmakers discuss amendments to cross-strait law

By Hsieh Chun-lin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Left to right, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yen Kuan-heng, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po and KMT caucus whip William Tseng exit the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday after having registered for the upcoming session.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Lawmakers are expected to begin debating draft amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) regarding a clause defining and limiting “agents of the Chinese Communist Party [CCP]” in the new legislative session.

The Legislative Yuan holds two regular sessions per year — the first from February to May and the second from September to December.

The legislative caucuses are to hold negotiations today to decide when the new session is to begin.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗), the first lawmaker to sign in for the new session yesterday, said that the KMT caucus would prioritize policies to ameliorate low wages, encourage youth entrepreneurship and promote measures to rectify and compensate people affected by the government’s pension reforms.

The Council of Grand Justices on Aug. 23 ruled as unconstitutional the regulations banning retired academics from receiving pensions if they find employment at a private university.

KMT Legislator Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒) said he would prioritize allocating more budget for local infrastructure and construction projects, adding that he would look into amending the changes to pension payments.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said his party caucus would prioritize amendments to the cross-strait relations act.

“We must face the issue, as it could affect our democracy, freedoms and national security,” he said, adding that the Chinese government is trying to undermine Taiwan’s democracy by using pro-Chinese media and funding during elections.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said that lawmakers across party lines should discuss how to completely block China and prevent any kind of Chinese influence in Taiwan.

The amendments are urgently needed, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said, but added that the distinction between legal and illegal behavior should be unequivocally stated to prevent the law from limiting freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The KMT is against the proposed amendment, as it would violate freedom of speech and journalistic freedoms, and would place millions of Taiwanese businesspeople at risk of litigation, Tseng said.

Taiwan should back Hong Kong, as it might very well share the same fate, Chen Ou-po said.

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