A new bill would make displaying the PRC flag a violation of national security. Critics say it would violate free speech.
On this August 22, 2016, file photo, pro-China group members holding the Chinese flag and a banner reading “Welcome Sha Hailin” outside the dinner venue hosted by Mayor Dai Bac Ke Wen-je organized, for Sha Hailin, head of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s Shanghai City Committee, in Taipei, Taiwan.
Source: AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying
Taiwan’s national security officials want to criminalize the display of the five-star People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag on national security grounds, a move that will rekindle heated debate in the country about protected speech.
Lawmakers are considering a bill proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Wang Ting-yu that would amend Taiwan’s National Security Act and criminalize some actions taken by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). considered hostile to this country.
The bill would prohibit “raising, lowering, hanging, displaying, holding or waving” a political or military flag of a foreign hostile force in public places. Convicts will be subject to a fine of up to $ 1,782.
Wang proposed modification in October with support from 28 DPP lawmakers along with Chen Po-wei of the Taiwan State Construction Party supporting independence.
The Taipei Times report on Tuesday National security officials reviewed this proposal and proposed a slight penalty for flagging for reasons of social order, instead of amending the National Security Act.
Security officials raised concerns that imposing penalties for national security could result in law enforcement officials being “criticized for running a police state,” according to the report. However, they also argued that ignoring the issue would “allow China to continue to use the nation’s democratic principles for its own ‘united front’ work.”
Officials recommended amendments to Taiwan’s Social Order Maintenance Act, arguing that this would consider the problem one of the social orders as flagging could lead to public tension and conflict. .
DPP officials have previously attempted to amend or use the Maintaining Social Order Act criminalize the spread Misinformation seems to serve the Chinese government’s purposes.
These efforts often receive a series of criticism from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT). International freedom of speech advocates, along with organizations like the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, have also condemn attempt to use this action to criminalize “fake news”.
Some KMT lawmakers are firmly against to efforts to criminalize the Chinese flag. In October, after Wang proposed the bill, the Secretary-General of the KMT’s KMT caucus Lin Yi-hua said that this would be a “transgression of state power” to limit freedom of expression, in the Lin Wei-chou said then that a draft action had to determine whether to show the Chinese or not. The flag is considered to be subversive and therefore unprotected speech.
Jang Chyi-lu, a lawmaker of the more moderate Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), said that banning the flag can only be done if a law is passed to define China as a country. enemy. At that time, a number of KMT lawmakers also expressed support for such a law.
The Chinese flag is not often displayed in Taiwan, where a minority of the population expressed support for unification. Among the public, protesters in favor of unity and activists are often ignored or ridiculed.
The ruling DPP tends to react quickly when the display of Chinese symbols in Taiwan receives international attention. In 2018, authorities destroying a temple was converted into a shrine to Chinese communism in the days following The New York Times report on its existence.