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Freedom, democracy is in Taiwanese DNA

The values of freedom and democracy have been embedded in Taiwanese DNA, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said, adding that the nation would continue to stand with the alliance of democracies and be a force for good in the world.

Tsai made the remarks at a memorial commemorating the 35th anniversary of the death of democracy pioneer Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) in New Taipei City’s Jinbaoshan Cemetery yesterday.

Deng, who ran several dissident magazines, self-immolated on April 7, 1989 as authorities attempted to arrest him on charges of sedition.


Harsher treason sentences proposed

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have proposed an amendment to toughen penalties for military officials found guilty of treason.

Current punishments are too lenient and do not serve as a deterrent, legislators told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday, citing the case of former army colonel Hsiang Te-en (向德恩).

Hsiang was found guilty of accepting bribes and signing a letter of surrender swearing allegiance to the People’s Republic of China as his “motherland.” The Kaohsiung District Court in February last year sentenced him to seven-and-a-half years in prison and ordered him to pay NT$560,000, the equivalent of what he received in bribes.

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China, which makes no secret that its ultimate goal is to annex Taiwan, has of late made engaging young Taiwanese a top priority in its “united front” strategy against Taiwan.

At the two-day “2015 Workshop on Taiwan Affairs” in Beijing that concluded on Tuesday, in addition to affirming the so-called “1992 consensus” and an anti-Taiwanese independence stance, officials made a point of stressing that measures would be taken to “actively promote cross-strait visits and expand exchanges among young people and members of the general public on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”