An amendment seeking to bar those found guilty of harming national security from leading a political party would soon be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation, the Ministry of the Interior said on Saturday, amid calls for action after China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) founder Chang An-le (張安樂) earlier this year claimed to have recruited “red troops” in central and southern Taiwan.
In an interview with China National Radio in January, Chang said that he has “converted” young Taiwanese to support unification with China, and urged Taiwanese to “rise up” to avoid being killed in a war.
The case was passed to the High Prosecutors’ Office, which is trying Chang, also known as the “White Wolf,” on a charge of contravening the National Security Act (國家安全法).
Chang is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.
Motivated by the case, lawmakers have voiced concern over the effects of foreign interference on political parties, leading to calls for legislation to protect the nation’s democratic systems.
Since the Political Parties Act (政黨法) was promulgated three years ago, some parties have deviated from democratic principles and public expectations, lending credence to the need for revision, Department of Civil Affairs Deputy Director Cheng Ying-hung (鄭英弘) said.
The Ministry of the Interior sent draft revisions of the amendment to the Executive Yuan on Sept. 3 last year, which held review sessions on Oct. 21 and Jan. 29, Cheng said, adding that the revisions would be sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation immediately after confirmation.
The most important changes relate to the age, qualifications, responsibilities and criminal record of a political party leader, he said.
The amendment would lower the minimum age to lead a political party to 18 from 20 and bar party leaders from concurrently leading or serving as an elector for another party, he said.
Those found guilty of contravening the National Security Act, National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法), National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) or any national security law would also be banned from leading a political party, he added.
As the leader of a party decides the direction of its organizational development, they have a substantial influence on party policy, Cheng said, explaining the changes.
If a leader breaks a national security law, besides severely harming the party’s political development, their actions might also harm overall national interests and security, he said, adding that he was confident the changes would put an end to foreign interference through political parties.
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