Oversight bill supported by activists not feasible: Duh
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
April 10, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Deputy Economic Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun (杜紫軍) said yesterday that a draft bill on monitoring cross-strait agreements supported by student protesters has many flaws and is thus unfeasible.
Duh was referring to a draft bill submitted by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) on behalf of student protesters who occupied the Legislature for over 20 days.
Duh's comments on the bill were made in response to a ruling lawmaker's questions at a legislative hearing yesterday, who called the civilian version of the oversight bill "ridiculous" because it has major flaws and could impact cross-strait relations if passed.
According to Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), article eight of the draft bill stipulates that government officials responsible for cross-strait agreement negotiations could face a maximum of seven years in prison if the agreements they help to sign are later found to jeopardize Taiwan's sovereignty.
Article 21 of the same draft bill further noted that all cross-strait agreements, including those that have already been signed and in place, will automatically become invalid until the passage of the draft bill that will give lawmakers the authority to review all Taiwan-China pacts.
"If the draft bill does pass on the legislative floor, it will have a serious impact on cross-strait relations, meaning the ongoing cross-strait direct flights will be suspended and Chinese tourists will not be able to visit Taiwan," Lin said.
Asked to comment, Duh, who fielded questions during the hearing, echoed Lin's opinion. The Deputy Economic Minister stressed that the civilian version of the bill is unfeasible.
He further noted that no government officials would be willing to join cross-strait negotiations if the draft bill does pass the legislatures because they could face prison terms for helping Taiwan seal deals with China.
The protesters, mostly students, who have occupied the Legislative Yuan's main assembly hall since March 18 announced earlier this week that they are scheduled to end the occupation today after the Legislative speaker showed goodwill regarding their demands.
Some protesters, however, have made comments indicating that they could again occupy government compounds, including the Presidential Office building, if lawmakers ultimately pass the Cabinet's version of the cross-strait agreements oversight bill instead of their own version.