Activists yesterday welcomed proposals to transfer the review of supervisory articles governing negotiations with China to a joint legislative committee, calling for amendments and hastening the review process.
“This is an important bill which does not just address internal administrative questions,” said Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強), who was part of the Sunflower movement, at a rally outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei with Social Democratic Party (SDP) activists. “Allowing legislators from all related committees to be included in discussions and to propose substantial amendments is the right direction.”
Passage of supervisory articles was a key demand of the Sunflower movement, which saw student activists occupy the legislature in 2014 to protest an agreement negotiated by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Legislators yesterday clashed over whether review of the supervisory articles should be conducted by the Internal Administration Committee or a special joint legislative committee, allowing lawmakers from the New Power Party (NPP) — which is not represented on the Internal Administration Committee — to vote and directly propose amendments during the review process.
NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) was a prominent Sunflower movement activist, and the party has promised to propose Economic Democracy Union-sponsored amendments to the draft bill.
Lai added that a joint committee review should not be an excuse to delay a committee review.
“What we do not want is for an agreement for a joint committee review, only to see the bill drop out of sight, like a stone sinking to the bottom of the sea,” he said, reiterating activists’ concerns that cross-strait talks are likely to resume next year following the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Party Congress this fall.
Lai also called for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to explain how the proposed supervisory articles would affect previously negotiated agreements on trade in services and goods.
Whether the government would be required to submit negotiation plans for a trade in goods agreement after the bill’s passage remains unclear, he said.
It is also unclear whether there will be an article-by-article or package vote on the service trade agreement, he said.
SDP Chairperson Fan Yun (范雲) called for changes to the DPP caucus’ draft bill that would require a substantive review of agreements, automatic referendums on the results of political talks, to redefine “cross-strait relations” as being between “Taiwan and China,” as well as applying any new review requirements to the proposed service trade agreement.
She said that the DPP seemed to have a “goldfish brain” — lacking long-term memory — over the service trade agreement, which served as the catalyst for the Sunflower movement.
“Given that the official draft does not include provisions that would ensure it is retroactively applied to the service trade agreement, how does [the DPP] intend to address the issue? So far it has failed to give us a clear answer,” she said.
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