The Cabinet yesterday approved a bill regulating research involving human embryos and stem cells while banning human cloning.
The draft bill, which will be sent to the legislature, stipulates a prison sentence of one to seven years and fines of NT$2 million (US$65,000) for researchers found guilty of violating the ban.
The Cabinet’s proposal marked the first time the executive branch has referred regulations on the research field to the legislature.
The draft says the regulation is intended to ensure freedom of scientific research while preventing unethical reproduction of human embryos and stem cells out of respect for human dignity.
“The potential for health treatment from research into human embryos and stem cells is exciting, but the controversy surrounding the experiments concerning ethics, life and culture should also be addressed,” Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) told the Cabinet meeting.
In related news, the Cabinet yesterday held a two-day conference for senior Cabinet officials to intensify coordination among various agencies on key policies.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), top officials from the Presidential Office and Cabinet officials spent the night at an employee training center owned by the Bank of Taiwan last night and were to go on a mountain hike this morning.
Ma praised the premier and his Cabinet for their performance over the past two months, saying they had accomplished a lot that had been left unfinished over the past 10 years and that will benefit the public and influence the country’s long-term development.
Cabinet officials were classified into five groups on the basis of the type of work of their agencies and would discuss major issues facing the country and draw up a list of projects the government should complete in the next year-and-a-half, Liu said.
Liu said he would make the blueprint public at a press conference today.