Bill on 228 amended, chaos ensues

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Mar 09, 2007 - Page 3

The legislature yesterday passed an amendment which replaces "compensation (補償)" with "indemnification (賠償)" in a bill related to the 228 Incident, a long-awaited request made by 228 Incident victims and their families for years.

The 228 Incident refers to uprising against the corrupt Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration under the late president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) that began on Feb. 28, 1947 and was followed by a bloody crackdown resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

Although the change in the official wording will not alter the compensation conditions as stipulated in the bill, it was believed that the word of "indemnification" connotes the wrongfulness of the then government in the incident.

The Statute for Handling of and Compensation for the 228 Incident (二二八事件處理及補償條例), enacted in April 1995, details a series of steps that need to be made to make up for what the victims suffered, but falls short of determining legal responsibility for the incident.

Another amendment aimed at demanding that individuals responsible for the incident stand trial has been blocked from being put onto the agenda because of a boycott by pan-blue lawmakers.

stalemate

Following the introduction of the bill, however, the legislative floor burst into chaos.

Lawmakers were supposed to review a Central Election Commission (CEC) bill and the government's budget bill for this fiscal year during yesterday's plenary session, but the legislature was deadlocked from approximately 3pm.

The stalemate stemmed from a dispute over the KMT-proposed CEC bill, which would lead to a pan-blue majority in the election body.

Under the present system, the 17 members of the commission are selected by the premier, but the KMT's proposal calls for the premier to choose CEC members from a list recommended by political parties in proportion to their legislative seats.

Pan-green lawmakers strongly opposed the bill, saying that the KMT bill was part of its efforts to thwart a possible referendum on recovering the party's stolen assets.

The KMT, however, argued that the bill was intended to remove a partisan bias that had tainted the CEC.

Disagreements over the bill began late last year, with the last legislative session ending without passing the budget bill for this fiscal year.

It was the first time in the nation's history that the central government opened a fiscal year without a budget.

As of yesterday, the bill was still stalled in the legislature.

chaos

Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers occupied the floor and stood at the doors of the chamber, blocking Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from entering the floor to chair the proceedings.

At around 8:50pm, lawmakers decided to dismiss the session and the two bills were scheduled to be reviewed again next Thursday.