The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday occupied the legislative speaker’s podium for the first time in history, as the opposition protested the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus’ putting a motion to vote without conducting cross-caucus negotiations.
Lawmakers argued with each other, with the legislature descending into disorder over a motion to require the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Education to retract social studies and Chinese-language high-school curriculum guidelines that were controversially announced in February 2014.
The motion — launched by DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) — asked the legislature to decide whether to retract the guidelines promulgated by the ministry in 2014, which it said came about “through a process that breached the principles of transparency, professionalism and bottom-up social participation, and with adjusted content that defied facts and whitewashed the era of authoritarian rule.”
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The motion was removed from the agenda last month, pending a cross-caucus negotiation and as the one-month negotiation period ended yesterday, the motion was put to a floor discussion to be followed by a vote.
KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said in the discussion that cross-caucus negotiations were never convened and called for an amendment to the discussion agenda and cross-caucus talks over the motion.
KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) said the motion, if passed, “has the risk of allowing the legislative branch to intervene in executive authority.”
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Cheng said that the motion is “the response made by the new legislature to new public opinion and a response to students’ rights advocate Dai Lin (林冠華),” who was a member of the Northern Taiwan Anti-Curriculum Changes Alliance before he committed suicide in July last year as students staged a weeks-long sit-in in front of the ministry building in Taipei to protest guideline changes.
“We have the right to reject brainwashing curriculum guidelines made in a ‘black box.’ What democratic society could approve of curriculum guidelines drawn up by ‘ooo’ and ‘xxx’?” asked Cheng, an apparent reference to the non-release of the names of those who participated in writing the guidelines.
KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said a cross-caucus resolution reached in the previous legislature had already called for a re-examination of the guideline-adjustment procedure and permitted schools to freely choose which guidelines they would use.
“If the new public opinion wants to overthrow the negotiated resolution, cross-caucus talks must be convened,” Lin Te-fu said.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) put the motion to a floor vote after the discussion ended, prompting KMT lawmakers to walk to the front of the chamber, with Lin Te-fu thumping a lectern and shouting for “procedural justice.”
The motion passed amid the noise, with some of the KMT lawmakers failing to vote as they were busy protesting.
After the vote, Su moved on to process the next bill, while the KMT lawmakers chanted, calling for a cross-caucus negotiation and shouting: “Anti-black-box” and “Impartiality of the legislative speaker.”
With no halt to proceedings as they protested, the KMT lawmakers walked to the speaker’s seat and snatched away the microphone, holding a placard that read: “The DPP restricts freedom of speech.”
DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) also approached the podium and asked the KMT to “learn to be in opposition and be humble” before tearing the placard and throwing it to the ground.
Some DPP lawmakers said: “Stay where you are and don’t just leave in an hour; you have to learn how to occupy the podium for at least three days as we have done.”
The KMT lawmakers ended the occupation after about one hour, at which time Su announced, after a negotiation between the two main caucuses, that no motions would be discussed if requisite cross-caucus negotiations are not convened.
Su announced a recess to the floor meeting, which is to be continued on Tuesday.
However, not everyone was happy with the decision.
“Who made the decision to call off the meeting?” New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) asked. “Did you film the negotiation?”
In other developments, the legislature passed a motion proposed by the NPP asking that the government halt a review of Want Want China Times Group’s (旺旺中時集團) application to acquire the nation’s largest cable TV service provider, China Network Systems Co (中嘉網路).
The motion passed 75-0 with the DPP and NPP supporting it, while KMT lawmakers did not cast their votes.
LAND ALERT UNCERTAIN: The CWB was waiting to observe how In-Fa shifts as it moves north to determine when to issue a land alert, a forecaster at the bureau said Residents of northern Taiwan should brace for heavy rain today and tomorrow as Typhoon In-Fa approaches the northeast, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. A land alert for the typhoon would be issued depending on the angle at which it moves north today, the bureau said. The bureau on Wednesday issued a sea alert for the typhoon, which applies to ships operating off the nation’s northern, northeastern and southeastern coasts. As of 8:30pm yesterday, In-Fa’s center was 470km southeast of Taipei, moving northwest at 6kph. It was carrying maximum sustained winds of 180kph, and had a radius of 200km. The typhoon was moving
TARGET RAISED: The CECC said vaccination coverage has reached 24.35%, while Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government hopes for 30% by the end of July The government has signed a contract to buy an additional 36 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 1 million of which are to be delivered in the fourth quarter, the Executive Yuan announced yesterday, as it updated its vaccination target to 30 percent coverage by the end of the month. The two-year deal with the US company covers “prime series” vaccines and future booster shots to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as saying during an Executive Yuan meeting in Taipei. In the two weeks since vaccine registration opened, more than 9.8
NEXT ROUND: About 1.44 million people who have registered online to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine are to get text messages today to book a vaccine appointment Strict border control measures, including a ban on foreign nationals entering or transiting through Taiwan, are to continue, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 10 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said five of the cases tested positive during isolation or upon ending it. The sources of infection of eight cases have been identified, one remains unclear and one is under investigation, he said, adding that 87.8 percent of the people infected with COVID-19 since May 11 have been released from isolation. Chen said an
BREAKING RECORDS: Kuo Hsing-chun’s snatch, clean and jerk, and combined lifts were all Olympic records, although well off her combined world record Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) yesterday completed her elusive quest for Olympic gold, clinching Taiwan’s first win at the Tokyo Games as she set Olympic records in the women’s under-59kg weight class. Kuo, who has not lost a major competition in her weight class since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was hampered by injury and finished third, finally chased down the gold medal that had long remained just out of her grasp. The 27-year-old finished with a combined lift of 236kg — 103kg in the snatch and 133kg in the clean and jerk — 21kg more