Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 3 News List

NPP reveals draft bill to curb funding from China and expose temple finances

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-chang, right, and NPP legislator-at-large candidate Chiu Hsien-chih hold a news conference in Taipei yesterday to highlight the party’s housing policy.

Photo: CNA

The New Power Party (NPP) caucus yesterday unveiled draft amendments to laws governing political donations, which aim to make temple finances transparent and increase the maximum prison term for candidates who accept monetary donations from the Chinese government or its military agencies.

Under existing rules, the punishment for candidates who accept monetary donations from the governments of China, Macau or Hong Kong and those who take donations from other governments is the same — a jail term of three to five years, NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) told a news conference in Taipei.

However, as China is a hostile nation that aims to annex Taiwan and is the greatest threat to Taiwanese democracy, the caucus would seek to amend the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法) by increasing the maximum prison term for candidates who accept donations from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese government or agencies of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army from five to 10 years, Huang said.

Candidates who accept funding from other Chinese political organizations, organizations involved in political work against Taiwan or their intermediaries would be subject to the same prison term, the draft amendment states.

To bring the proposals in line with provisions in the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), once convicted, a candidate would be banned from registering for elections, it states.

If a candidate who is proven to have taken donations from China is elected, a lawsuit would be filed against them to have their election repealed, the proposed amendment to that act states.

Another draft amendment seeks to include “religious foundations,” including temples, in the Foundations Act (財團法人法), so that their capital flow can be made transparent.

Recent incidents involving temples advocating for the CCP have sparked concern, such as the now-demolished Biyun Chan Temple (碧雲禪寺) in Changhua County and the Taiwan People’s Communist Party Matsu Temple (台灣人民共產黨天后宮) in Tainan’s Sinying District (新營), which was dedicated to the CCP and was torn down in September after it was found to have been illegally built on farmland, NPP Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.

The NPP during the previous legislative session failed to amend the Foundations Act to better regulate temples’ finances, he said.

He urged lawmakers across party lines to reconsider the proposal from the perspectives of national security and anti-infiltration.

The Democratic Progressive Party, which on Monday sponsored its version of an anti-infiltration bill, should retract a motion it submitted earlier this month to allow the Legislative Yuan to recess in the middle of next month so that lawmakers can focus on their campaigns, Hsu said.

Huang said that he had heard rumors that some lawmakers were entertaining a plan to call an extraordinary session after the Jan. 11 elections to discuss the anti-infiltration bills.

How legislators vote on the bills would be an important reference for voters, Huang said urging his fellow legislators to be responsible regarding their constituents and pass the bills before going on recess.

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