The Ministry of National Defense is to take down draft amendments to the General Mobilization Act (全民防衛動員準備法) from its Web site and revise them after considering input from all sides, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday.
Chen made the remarks in response to independent Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) at a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The ministry posted the draft on its Web site on Feb. 21. After a mandatory 14-day notice period, it was planning to send it to the Executive Yuan for approval and thereafter to the legislature.
Photo: Tian Yu-hua, Taipei Times
However, Chen said there have been concerns about the draft, adding that the ministry would revise it.
The draft amendments define two phases of mobilization per presidential order — peacetime “mobilization preparation” and emergency or wartime “mobilization implementation.”
Critics took issue with the proposed provision that when the act is activated, local governments and the news media would have to cooperate with the central government, which would be allowed to enforce controls on all information networks, including online media, publishers and TV channels.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
As the draft does not clearly define “mobilization preparation,” critics said that the provision could be used by the government to limit press freedom.
Chen said a revision to the act “is what the nation urgently needs, but there was apparent miscommunication about certain aspects of the draft amendments, such as youngsters going to the battlefield or manufacturing arms and restricting the media.”
The ministry should maintain communication with other government departments and communicate with the public on the planned changes, he said.
Separately yesterday, the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) caucus urged the government to gather more input from all sides before amending the act.
TPP caucus convener Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) accused the Executive Yuan of only speaking with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers about the issue, calling it “an act indicating that the Executive Yuan is not maintaining administrative neutrality under a DPP-led government.”
Many provisions in the draft overlap with the Civil Defense Act (民防法) and the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act (災害防救法), Chiu said, adding that the draft would give the Executive Yuan “a blank check to do as it pleases.”
TPP Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said modern warfare is conducted in a manner vastly different from World War II, but the amendments show that the government’s mindset is stuck in the past.
The government must abandon the “authoritarian” mindset of “concentrating power to resolve issues of great importance,” Jang said.
Instead it should utilize the strengths of the public to adapt to threats posed by modern warfare, he added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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