Taipei, March 3 (CNA) Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said Friday that retired military generals and political appointees should be subject to regulation even after they have left public office, but he added that such regulation would not be unreasonable or target any specific individuals.
The premier said that both retired military generals and political appointees are high-profile figures in society and their deeds and words must not compromise the national interest.
He made the remarks one day after the Cabinet decided to revise the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area to ban political appointees and senior military officers from travelling to China for a minimum of three years after retiring.
When asked during a legislative question-and-answer session if the proposed law amendment could restrict personal freedom, Lin said the Cabinet will not restrict freedom of speech or personal liberty, but he added that military generals and political appointees, even once they have left office, are still high-profile, and should be subject to regulations.
The Cabinet's proposed ban would apply to political appointees; military officers at the rank of lieutenant-general and higher in the Army and Air Force, and vice admiral and higher in the Navy; officials involved in highly confidential work; and intelligence officers.
While in China, the retired officials would not be allowed to take part in activities attended by China's top leaders or behave in a way that adversely impacts the dignity of Taiwan, including bowing to China's national flag and singing China's national anthem.
Political appointees and senior military officers violating the rule could have their pensions slashed by 30 percent to 100 percent, while those who receive a one-time retirement payment could be fined between NT$500,000 and NT$3 million.
Calls for the government to amend the law were made after dozens of retired Taiwanese generals attended a gathering organized by the Chinese government in Beijing on Nov. 11 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).
The ex-generals were reported to have stood up for the playing of the national anthem of the People's Republic of China. They then listened to a speech by Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping (習近平).
(By Wen Kui-hsiang and Lilian Wu)