Taiwan’s outdated Constitution led to a controversial court ruling last week granting compensation to the family of a Chinese citizen who died in Taiwan, a panel of experts said yesterday.
The High Court on Friday last week ruled that state compensation should be paid for the accidental death of a Chinese tourist surnamed Qian (錢), who was electrocuted by a malfunctioning street light while cycling in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) in August 2018.
The ruling was made on the basis that citizens of the People’s Republic of China are considered citizens of the Republic of China under law, and therefore should be compensated under the State Compensation Act (國家賠償法).
Photo: Tien Su-hua, Taipei Times
Members of the Taiwan Forever Association, the Taiwan New Constitution, the Taiwan Association of University Professors and other groups during a joint news conference in Taipei yesterday said that the judge made an interpretation that deviated from common understanding of the Constitution.
“The controversy surrounding the judgement highlights the longstanding problem of the unclear status of Chinese in our country’s laws,” the groups said.
“If the people of the mainland area are to be considered citizens of the Republic of China, then will the government distribute NT$6,000 to all 1.4 billion people in China?” Taiwan Forever Society chairman Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) asked, referring to tax rebates that the government is planning to issue this year.
The ruling highlights the need to amend the Constitution “as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the State Compensation Act should also be amended to “prevent judges from misinterpreting Chinese as the court’s subjects.”
Taiwan Forever Association researcher Peng Chih-cheng (彭至誠) said the ruling was partially related to the wording of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).
That act “omits provisions related to national compensation, thereby making it easy for those who apply the law to submit legal interpretations that are divorced from reality but seem legal,” Peng said.
The issue is not a question of Taiwanese not wanting to compensate Chinese in such cases, but a matter that represents a crisis in the constitutional framework, Taiwan Association of University Professors deputy chairman Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫) said.
Aside from compensation, the issue also could affect tax, military service and criminal laws, among others, he said.
The world recognizes the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait as meaning that Taiwan and China are separate, and the High Court’s ruling confused the issue, Taiwan New Constitution Foundation deputy director Song Cheng-en (宋承恩) said.
“How should Taiwan seek assistance from other countries during an invasion attempt by China if such rulings are made?” he asked.
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
FOOD FRACAS: Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu called for the premier to deliver the address at 10:27am, but KMT legislators swarmed the podium to block him Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday temporarily obstructed Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) from giving what is likely to be his last policy report to the legislature in protest at the Cabinet’s handling of food safety issues. The premier eventually delivered his report after a spat between caucuses about how and when Chen should deliver a special report on food safety. The KMT wanted the premier to make the special report yesterday, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) said that the legislature should hold an internal meeting on the issue today and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed Friday. As they could not agree,
TAIPEI WATCHING: The speedboat incident must be studied to prevent such incidents from recurring, president-elect William Lai was quoted as saying China’s launch of regular coast guard patrols in the Taiwan Strait after two Chinese sailors died fleeing from the Taiwanese coast guard is unlikely to trigger an escalation, analysts said yesterday. Beijing’s actions are aimed at applying pressure on Taipei and signaling its displeasure at president-elect William Lai (賴清德), not to raise the tensions in the Strait, Institute of National Defense and Security Research fellow Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said. The situation in the Taiwan Strait is “not particularly hot” as coast guards in the region have used water cannons and ramming during confrontations with foreign ships on multiple occasions, he said. Taiwan should