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September 23, 2017

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Review of Free Economic Zone Pilot bill stalled

TAIPEI -- Review of a bill on the Free Economic Pilot Zone development plan was again stalled at the Legislative Yuan Thursday due to what the chair of the review session described as "scorched-earth" strategy by opposition lawmakers.

During a joint committee session scheduled to review the legislation, legislators from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the smaller Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) occupied the podium in protest.

They were demanding an apology from ruling Kuomintang Legislator Huang Chao-shun, who chaired the session, whom they accused of having committed procedural violations a day earlier by restricting certain opposition legislators from speaking and for adjourning the session.

That day, the session was also brought to a standstill amid filibuster attempts by opposition lawmakers who fear that the project will serve as a back door for Chinese seeking influence in Taiwan.

Huang said the fact that DPP lawmakers demanded the meeting be adjourned both in the morning and afternoon of Wednesday showed that they did not want to review the bill.

She protested what she termed "scorched earth" strategy employed by both the DPP and the TSU lawmakers Thursday morning before announcing a recess.

When the session resumed, lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties argued and fought over access to the microphone and Huang announced an extension of the session until midnight. No progress was made on the bill all morning.

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