The Executive Yuan has submitted a proposal to amend the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) to the legislature, which, if passed, would boost the penalties for people convicted of spying for China.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have also submitted draft amendments, and the Judiciary Committee is expected to review the bills on Wednesday and Thursday.
There are concerns about loopholes in the national security laws, including not recognizing China as a foreign state, which means that people spying for China are not considered foreign agents, DPP lawmakers said.
Other problems include the law not distinguishing between leaking secrets to Taiwanese and leaking secrets to foreign nationals, and not enumerating specific penalties, they said.
Under the Executive Yuan’s bill, the maximum sentence for passing top secret classified information to China would be increased from seven years in prison to 15 years.
The bill would also increase the length of sentences for leaking secrets to foreign citizens or Chinese nationals, including residents of Hong Kong and Macau, from the current one to seven years to three to 10 years, and increase the sentence length for illegal disclosure of top secret information by 50 percent, raising the maximum sentence from 10 years to 15 years.
The Executive Yuan bill also stipulates stiffer sentences for disclosing unclassified but privileged information to foreign citizens and Chinese nationals, or for probing for such information on their behalf, and stipulates that attempted breaches of the act are to be subjected to specific punishments.
Government ministries and agencies would no longer have the power to reduce the three-year period of required vetting for former government employees with security clearances who want to travel abroad, according to the Executive Yuan’s bill.
DPP Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) has submitted a draft bill broadly similar to the Executive Yuan’s proposal, while a number of other DPP lawmakers have also suggested amendments.
DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng’s (羅致政) proposal stipulates that those convicted of spying on behalf of “hostile foreign powers” should receive a 50 percent increase to their prison term.
A proposal by DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) would link the length of a prison sentence to the classification level of the compromised information, with those disclosing top secret information to foreign states potentially receiving a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The country’s efforts at international military and intelligence cooperation and arms procurement have been repeatedly frustrated because allies fear their secrets could be compromised by Chinese operatives, Lo said.
“Increasing the penalty against communist spies is, without a doubt, an urgent national security priority,” he said.
DPP Legislator Wang Ding-yu’ (王定宇) has also proposed a new amendment to Clause 10 of the Criminal Code to clarify the term “adversary” in terms of expanding the definition of treason in the code to include “collusion with an adversary,” updating a proposal that he submitted last year, another lawmaker said.
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
Beijing yesterday blamed US “provocation” for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident came at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US this year. “The United States’ long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China’s national sovereignty and security,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said when asked about the latest incident. “This
‘GLOBAL NETWORK’: The only way to deter a Chinese invasion is for the international community to unite in its resolve, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Lee said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Lee (李淳) yesterday urged democratic nations around the world to not let Beijing dictate the definition of their “one China” policies, saying that they should increase cooperation with Taiwan to build a resilient democratic network. Lee made the remarks during his speech, titled “Ukraine and Taiwan: Why Global Unity Matters,” at the annual Bratislava Forum in Slovakia. “People in Taiwan have been paying close attention to the situation in Ukraine and admire Ukrainians for defending their homeland. They are [also] fighting for Taiwan and democratic countries around the world,” Lee told forum participants. “The international