Sat, Dec 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

DPP ices KMT ‘anti-annexation’ bill

SAVING THE REPUBLIC?The bill stipulates jail time for any civil servant advocating renaming the ROC, changing its territory or dissolving, absorbing or replacing it

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers hold up signs during a vote on whether to advance an “anti-annexation” bill to a second reading at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

A motion sponsored by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus to have its “anti-annexation” bill proceed to a second reading was struck down yesterday, sealing its fate.

The motion was filed at a legislative plenary session and put to a vote after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus objected.

During the vote, KMT lawmakers held up a banner and placards as they shouted: “Defend the Republic of China [ROC], safeguard national sovereignty” and “[President] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) does not recognize the ROC and is not qualified to run for president.”

The motion was voted down 21-41 by DPP lawmakers.

The bill was sent to the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee, on a recommendation by the Procedure Committee, where it is expected to be “frozen” for a month until a required period for cross-caucus talks expires.

As the current legislative session is to conclude at the end of this month, the bill is unlikely to be passed in the session.

The legislation, unveiled last week, states that any civil servant — including the president — who advocates renaming the ROC, changing its territory or dissolving, absorbing or replacing it would face a prison term of up to seven years.

Lawmakers also abolished two articles in the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) that gave police the authority to detain offenders who have not fully paid fines in a prescribed period.

The articles stipulated that people who have been ordered to pay a fine could be granted a three-month grace period if they are financially disadvantaged to pay the outstanding balance in installments, be detained or request that they be detained in lieu of payment.

People who owe between NT$300 and NT$900 in fines may file a request to be detained for a day, but such detention must not exceed five days, the articles stated.

The amended act retains the grace period, but no longer allows fines to be commuted to detention.

The DPP caucus, which proposed the amendments, said that the rules had infringed on personal freedom and contradicted the Constitution, which says that authorities must follow due legal procedure when detaining people.

In addition, an amendment to the Criminal Code passed a third reading.

The amendment would lengthen the statute of limitations and the legal period to enforce punishment for people who have taken flight after having been charged with or convicted of crimes covered by the code.

The periods were extended from one-fourth to one-third of the time frame in which periods of prescription apply.

For example, people who have been sentenced to death, life imprisonment or a jail term of at least 10 years would face a statute of limitations of 30 years, but would no longer be investigated or punished starting in the seventh year of being convicted or prosecuted under current rules.

Such individuals would have to wait 10 years before they could return to the nation under the amended code, which would also increase the cost of evading legal liabilities.

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