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Home The News News Lawmakers stall China travel bill

Lawmakers stall China travel bill

Opposition lawmakers yesterday stalled a review of proposed amendments that would place greater scrutiny on elected representatives traveling to China, drawing a rebuke from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.

Procedure Committee members from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party voted against it, preventing the Internal Administration Committee from reviewing the bill, which was cosponsored by DPP Legislator Puma Shen (沈伯洋) and 17 others.

The proposed amendments to articles 9 and 91 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) would require elected representatives to obtain the approval of national security officials before visiting China.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Puma Shen speaks at a news conference in Taipei on Monday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The proposed amendments would affect lawmakers, city councilors and county councilors.

KMT Legislator Liao Hsien-hsiang (廖先翔) said at the committee that people have a constitutionally guaranteed right to travel and that behavior, rather than geography, should be the determiner of whether there is a national security risk.

KMT Legislator Chen Yu-chen (陳玉珍) said it is presumptuous to target visits to China for enhanced regulations without applying similar restrictions to the US, Japan and South Korea.

Shen said that the committee was not the venue for such discussions, as its remit is to create an agenda for other committees to review proposed laws, not examine them.

Committee members voted along party lines 10-8 to set aside the bill.

Killing the bill at the agenda-making stage deprived lawmakers of the opportunity to examine the proposal, Shen wrote on Facebook.

The opposition’s tactics have “evolved from denying discussion at the committee level to simply terminating the committee’s proceedings,” he wrote.

The day’s events showed that the committee has turned into an affiliate of KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅?萁), DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) said, accusing Fu of blocking the bill to prevent the truth about his visits to China from coming to light.

Separately, Shen proposed amendments to other laws that would authorize the government to rescind the resident alien status of Chinese spouses convicted of a crime related to national security.

The amendments would add the condition of having no convictions for crimes related to national security for Chinese spouses to be granted long-term or permanent residency due to marriage with a Taiwanese, he said.

The spouses would lose their long-term residency, permanent residency and household registration, he said.

Chinese spouses who breach Taiwan’s national security laws under duress from China’s intelligence services would be granted leniency and be allowed to live with dependents after serving their sentence, he said.

The loss of residency and deportation would be reversed should a higher court overturn the conviction, and reapplication of residency would be possible upon completing the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement, he said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2024/04/24

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