Cabinet approves tougher rules on former officials visiting China

2017/07/06 16:54:46 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Mainland Affairs Council

Photo courtesy of Mainland Affairs Council

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) The Executive Yuan on Thursday passed a draft amendment that introduces more stringent penalties for retired high-ranking military officers and senior political appointees who engage in political activities in China.

Under the draft amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, former high ranking military brass and political appointees are prohibited from participating in political activities in China for a period of 15 years after retirement. Those found in violation of the regulation could have their monthly pension payments suspended or face a fine of up to NT$5 million (US$167,000).

According to the new regulations, military officers ranked lieutenant general or higher, deputy chiefs and chiefs of the National Security Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mainland Affairs Council and chiefs of intelligence agencies are prohibited from attending events and activities hosted by Chinese leaders and making gestures that harm the country's national dignity, such as saluting flags and emblems, or singing songs that symbolize Mainland Chinese political power.

An estimated 1,000 retirees will be subject to the ban although they might be allowed to engage in tourism and cultural activities, according to MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月).

The draft will also prohibits travel to China by civil servants and military personnel who had access to classified information for a minimum of three years, instead of the flexible three-year travel ban currently in place.

Existing rules stipulate that civil servants and military personnel are allowed to visit China one to three years after retirement, with the permission of their former agencies.

Under current regulations, government and military personnel are also in principle banned from travel to China for three years after retirement, with their former agencies deciding whether to extend or cut the ban.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Thursday passed a draft amendment to the Classified National Security Information Protection Act. This increases the duration of travel restrictions on retired civil servants who had access to confidential information to a minimum of three years and increases penalties for those leaking national security information, with serious offenders facing up to 10 years in prison.

(By Ku Chuan, Miao Zong-han and Evelyn Kao)
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