Proposed amendments to the General Mobilization Act (全民防衛動員準備法) are not yet final, the Executive Yuan spokesman said yesterday, after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vowed to block the legislation over concerns about mobilization of young students and its effect on media freedom.
KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) on Wednesday pledged that the party would do its utmost to prevent the passage of the revisions, citing concerns over government control of media outlets and the possible mobilization of students during wartime.
According to the amendments proposed by the Ministry of National Defense (MND), local governments and all news and media organizations would have to comply with official restrictions that might be imposed on all information networks, including online media platforms, publishers and television broadcasters.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
The amendments would also increase penalties for spreading misinformation and failing to comply with mobilization or requisition orders during wartime.
In addition to the proposed revisions, the MND has asked the Ministry of Education to compile a list of students aged 16 or older and submit it to the All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency.
Local media reports said that these suggest the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government is preparing for a general mobilization amid rising cross-strait tensions, sparking concern among parents.
Executive Yuan acting spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉承) said that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all legislation can function to the best of its ability, adding that the MND would consult public opinion before finalizing its proposal.
“Dire times,” as mentioned in the amendments, refer to an emergency order of mobilization issued by the president not only in the event of war, but also severe disasters, such as the 921 Earthquake, Lo said.
Ancillary measures should exist to ensure that the order can be carried out, Lo said, citing the example of the amendment to the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法) after the outbreak of SARS in 2002.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare would amend the act again after the COVID-19 pandemic, Lo said, adding that changes are made to ensure that the rule of law continues during times of crisis.
The General Mobilization Act is outdated, as its lacks preparations to mobilize services such as finance and information technology, and the amendments seek to fill in these shortcomings, he said.
Restrictions brought about by implementing emergency measures would only occur in times of mobilization, but it is best to have such measures ready beforehand, he added.
Rumors of “mobilizing students and sending them into battle” is “obviously fake news,” Lo said, adding that the proposed amendments should be discussed rationally instead of being blown out of proportion.
DPP caucus convener Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said that discussion of the amendments is good and should not be deterred because of objections from China or pro-unification individuals.
DPP Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) said it was regretful that some members of the public have been affected by China’s cognitive warfare regarding the amendments, adding that making a list of students for mobilization was standing policy.
Liu suggested that the defense ministry and the education ministry gather opinions opposing the amendments and review the revisions to reach a public consensus.
Measures have been taken to minimize damage from Chinese espionage, the Ministry of National Defense said on Monday, in response to an alleged plan to deliver a Chinook helicopter to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese-language CTWANT magazine earlier in the day reported that a lieutenant colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝) was approached by Chinese officers with an offer to evacuate his family to Thailand in the event of a cross-strait conflict. In exchange, Hsieh was asked to fly a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Taiwan Strait, the magazine said. Hsieh initially declined, but accepted after he was
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had