MAC seeks to tighten rules on visits to China by former civil servants

Taipei-The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Wednesday that it is seeking to prohibit high ranking military officers and political appointees from participating in political activities in China for a period of 15 years after retirement.

In a statement, the MAC said it will give priority to securing the relevant amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area when the new legislative session starts Feb. 15.

Under one of the draft amendments, former high ranking military officers and political appointees will be prohibited from taking part in political activities in China for at least 15 years after they retire, said the MAC, Taiwan's top China policy-making body.

The penalty for violation of the law will be a suspension of monthly pension payments or a fine of up to NT$5 million (US$162,138), according the draft amendment.

In the case of civil servants and military personnel who have had access to classified information, travel to China will be prohibited for a minimum of three years after they retire, the draft bill states.

The existing regulations allow visits to China by civil servants and military personnel one to three years after retirement, with the permission of their former agencies.

The other draft amendment bill seeks to increase the penalty for illegal investment in Taiwan by Chinese individuals or institutions, raising the maximum fine from NT$600,000 to NT$25 million.

In addition to those two bills, the Legislature is also expected to review a draft bill aimed at shortening the time in which Chinese spouses of Taiwan nationals can obtain Taiwan citizenship, from six years to four.

In its statement, the MAC also said that after consultations with the relevant government agencies, it has drafted a law amendment to deal with China's recent decision to issue residency cards to Taiwanese living and working there.

The MAC said it has proposed the establishment of a registration system in Taiwan for such card holders and has already sent a draft bill to the Cabinet for approval.

According to China's State Council, residents from Taiwan wishing to apply for the residence permit are not required to have household registration in China, but must have a stable job and place of residence there.

The new system, which was implemented last year, covers Taiwanese, Hong Kongers and Macanese who have been legally living, working, or studying in China for more than six months.

The move by China was interpreted largely in Taiwan as a political tactic to gain support among Taiwanese.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel