Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday initiated a proposal for a referendum calling for referendum voting to be held concurrently with national elections, with the aim of “returning power to the people.”
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has used its legislative majority to rule aggressively since coming to power in 2016 and prevented members of the public from expressing themselves on issues, Chiang told a news conference in Taipei.
“This situation demonstrates the importance of direct democracy,” he said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The outcomes of the 2018 referendum votes were not what the DPP had hoped for, so it decoupled referendums from presidential elections, changing the law so that referendum voting would only be held every two years, he said.
The DPP on June 17 last year amended the Referendum Act (公民投票法) so that referendum voting would be held every two years — but not on years when presidential elections are held — on the fourth Saturday of August.
“[The DPP] turned the ‘birdcage referendum’ into an ‘iron cage referendum.’ It has turned its back on all that it strove to achieve over more than 30 years, and has harmed people’s rights,” he said.
Referendum voting is a constitutionally protected right of Taiwanese and a way for people to directly exercise their rights, but restricting when referendum voting can occur restricts when people can exercise this right, he said.
Police reports of breaches of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) have increased over the past few years, Chiang said, citing an example of an issue that might be of public concern.
In 2018, there were 21 cases, but last year, there were 151 cases and in the first five months of this year, there were 233 cases — but only a 25 percent conviction rate, he added.
“Is Taiwan becoming a police state?” he asked.
The value of democracy is the ability to question the government and a democratic government has a responsibility to respond to the public, not bring charges against them, he said.
“Otherwise, what has changed since the White Terror era of the past?” Chiang asked.
In the face of this threat, Chiang said that he felt compelled to propose a referendum calling for referendum voting to be held alongside presidential elections.
Holding referendum voting separately costs taxpayers about NT$850 million (US$28.8 million), but when held together, as in 2018, referendum voting only cost NT$145 million, he said.
“This is not just a KMT issue — it concerns all Taiwanese nationwide,” KMT Institute of Revolutionary Practice director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said.
“The public must not sit idly by and watch as the DPP turns the nation into a one-party state,” Lo said, adding that the KMT would keep the DPP in check starting at the grassroots level.
If Chiang’s referendum is successful, referendum voting could be tied to by-elections as soon as 2022 and presidential elections as soon as 2024, Lo added.
Netflix on Wednesday said it is to charge NT$100 more per month for each user that is not part of the same household. Under the plan, the streaming service is to limit viewership to people who live in the same household. If a member wishes to add people outside of their address, they must pay NT$100 more per person every month. No additional viewers can be added to the NT$270 per month “basic” account. “Standard” accounts (NT$330) can add one user, while “premium” (NT$390) accounts can add two users. The company has said that people in the same household would still be able
PRESSURE POINT: Beijing might seek to lean on Musk to prevent his SpaceX from providing Taiwan access to its Starlink satellite system, ‘The Economist’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) called out Elon Musk on Twitter, saying the value of democracy transcends that of money after the Tesla CEO said that China was likely to “integrate” Taiwan. Asked in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday last week if “China would make a move to take control of Taiwan,” Musk said that “the official policy of China is that Taiwan should be integrated... One does not need to read between the lines.” “There is a certain inevitability to the situation,” he added. “That is their policy, and I think you should take their word seriously,” Musk said. Regarding
VIGILANCE: The mask mandate would remain in effect at healthcare facilities, healthcare-related institutes and senior welfare facilities due to high infection risks there The mask mandate would be extended next month for three types of venues, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday as it reported that the average daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases increased by more than 30 percent last week. Local COVID-19 cases last week rose to an average of 204 daily hospitalizations, an increase of 32.5 percent from the previous week, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said. The number of prescriptions for oral anti-viral drugs to treat COVID-19 also increased to 23,503 courses — 17,424 courses of Paxlovid and 6,079 courses of molnupiravir. The average positivity rate
GROWING FAST: China continues to outpace the US in its production and commissioning of ships, as it seeks to expand ‘far seas operations,’ an ex-US Navy captain said China continued to increase its naval capacity last year, indicating that it is seeking to bolster its ability to invade Taiwan, a retired US Navy captain said. In an article published in this month’s issue of the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, retired US Navy Captain James Fanell wrote that China commissioned 10 warships and one submarine last year, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was continuing to commission the most annual tonnage globally, as it has done for at least the past five years. The PLAN is also outproducing the US Navy in total number of ships, tonnage and