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Heads of DPP-governed cities absent at Legislature

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- No opposition party mayors or magistrates showed up at the Legislature's deliberation meeting on a special draft bill on Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) yesterday after being invited by ruling party lawmakers recently.

The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus on Monday made a resolution to invite mayors and magistrates that are relevant to the FEPZ project to come to the Legislature and make their positions clear. The ruling party caucus especially urged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-governed cities and counties to support and express their opinions on the special draft bill for FEPZs.

The head of five DPP-governed cities and counties on Monday jointly released a press statement, criticizing the KMT caucus for pushing them to express support of the FEPZ program.

The DPP mayors and magistrates include Yilan Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), Chiayi Magistrate Helen Chang (張花冠), Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Pingtung Magistrate Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻).

The Legislature's Economic Committee yesterday held a deliberation meeting for the FEPZ special act as scheduled; however, the five DPP mayors and magistrates did not show up and did not send representatives to the meeting.

No written reports of the five cities were delivered to the meeting despite the fact that the government is planning to establish free economic pilot zones at these DPP-ruled cities and counties.

On the other hand, Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁), Changhua Magistrate Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) and Kimen Magistrate Li Wo-shi (李沃士) showed up at the meeting yesterday. Other cities and counties that were invited by the KMT lawmakers also delivered written reports to express their opinions about the program. Keelung Mayor Chang Tung-rong (張通榮), who is a KMT member, however, did not show up nor did he deliver a written report to the meeting.

Both Fu and Cho told reporters that their cities are qualified to join the FEPZ program. Cho stressed that the reason he came to the meeting was to express his city's strong desire to participate the program.

No Articles Deliberated

During the deliberation meeting convened by KMT lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) yesterday, the ruling party and opposition lawmakers spent over six hours arguing over the legislative procedures.

Around 3:30 p.m., Huang called a recess of the meeting and as a result, none of the articles of the FEPZ special bill were deliberated.

National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who attended the meeting, told reporters that if the lawmakers continue to boycott the special bill on FEPZs, then the opportunity to work with other countries will slip away from Taiwan to other countries that are interested in setting up free economic pilot zones of their own.

Kuan added that to keep stalling the pilot zones is to harm local counties and cities' economic development.

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 Beijing refuses to comment on 'greater one China' 
Demonstrators raise signs at a conference held by the National Development Council (NDC) in protest of the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) program, at the National Tainan Living Art Center (台南生活美學館) in Tainan City, yesterday. (CNA)

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