A plan to increase fines for Taiwanese who work for political organizations in China advanced at the legislature in Taipei yesterday, when a draft amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) passed its first reading.
The draft was proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) after Chang Ching-yi (張經義) — a Taiwanese reporter who works for a Chinese state-run agency — on April 9 did not tell a White House news conference about his company, instead saying: “I am from Taiwan” during his question time with US President Donald Trump.
Chang is a Taiwanese-born employee at Shanghai Media Group (上海文化廣播影視集團), a state-owned mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) on Thursday said Chang broke the law and could be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 (US$3,322 and US$16,610).
Article 33 of the act states that “any individual, juristic person, organization, or other institution of the Taiwan Area shall not hold any position or become any member of the agencies, institutions or organizations of the Mainland Area which are political parties, the military, the administration or of any political nature and which are prohibited with public notices by the Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan in consultation with each competent authorities concerned.”
The amendment would boost the maximum fine to NT$1 million.
China has used multiple means to “buy off” Taiwanese, having them hired at Chinese organizations and agencies of a political nature, Lin said yesterday, adding that a maximum fine of NT$500,000 was too small to be a deterrent.
Separately yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) protested the decision to pass the amendment, saying that all Chinese media firms have state-ownership backgrounds, so the change to the law would in effect be a ban on Taiwanese working for any Chinese media firm.
It is a restriction of people’s right to work, an extremely unwise move in Taiwan, which advocates freedom of speech, Yeh said.
KMT Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) called on the DPP government not to oppose everything China-related.
Chang, who grew up in Yunlin County and has the chance to ask the US president questions, should be applauded, Hung said.
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