Thu, Oct 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

DPP caucus support for ‘agents’ bill gains steam

ALTERNATIVES:The government is reportedly looking at other options to address the issue of infiltration by the CCP, but a source said it has not ruled out amendments

By Lee Hsin-fang, Hsieh Chun-lin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Support in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus to pass in this legislative session proposed amendments to address “agents” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is growing, despite initial reports that the caucus was ambivalent toward passing the legislation before the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, according to a government official.

“Hong Kong’s implementation of a mask ban, the intensification of protests and the tense overall situation in the territory have deepened the concerns of many grassroots supporters of the pan-green camp about China’s suppression of Hong Kong and infiltration of Taiwan,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Many pan-green camp supporters also believe that Taiwan’s legal system is unable to deal with members of the China Unification Promotion Party,” the official said. “Thus, they have requested that DPP legislators complete amendments on CCP agents as soon as possible.”

“This surge of concern by pan-green camp supporters has also made some DPP legislators feel a not-insignificant [amount of] pressure from grassroots voters,” the official said. “As a result, voices within the DPP caucus proposing completion of the amendments on CCP agents during the current session have grown recently.”

DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) called the passage of amendments to address so-called “red agents” within the current legislative session “necessary.”

After this session, there would be “more variables to amending similar laws,” he said.

“The threat of ‘red agents’ faced by Taiwan is already very obvious,” Ting said, adding that it can be seen in the media, organizations disguised as political parties and “even in the movement of funds.”

“The DPP has not slowed down the amendments, but rather is making the legislation more comprehensive,” he said.

DPP legislators Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) and Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) have also expressed support for the passage of the amendments during this legislative session.

However, senior officials in the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) have reportedly been leaning toward addressing such “agents” via means other than legislative amendments to avoid triggering controversy over issues such as the definition of a “CCP agent” before the elections, but remain open to using legislation to address the issue.

The government has been considering whether there are options other than amendments to regulate potential infiltration by China, and discussions are ongoing, local media have reported.

The government has “never ruled out” amendments to address CCP agents, the anonymous official said.

If evaluations by the DPP’s legislative caucus find that amendments “must” be made, the government would still push for such legislation, the official added.

On Tuesday at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, when asked by independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) about the proposed amendments, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the government needs to think of ways to block “any behavior that infringes on freedom and democracy, speaks for China’s regime or paves the path for China’s annexation of Taiwan.”

Where there are laws in place, they need to be enforced properly, he said.

If the laws are inadequate, they can be improved through legislation, he added.

Additional reporting by Huang Hsin-po

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