FAPA Deeply Disturbed By KMT Government’s Lack Of Democratic Procedures In Forcing Service Trade Agreement Through Legislative Yuan

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), a Taiwanese-American grassroots organization based in Washington DC, today expresses its deep concern about the undemocratic procedures used by the KMT government of President Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan to force its Service Trade Agreement with China through the Legislative Yuan.

FAPA refers in particular to decision on Monday, March 17th 2014 by legislator Chang Ching-chung, the KMT chairman of a joint meeting of eight legislative committees reviewing the pact, to declare the review completed without any deliberation, and send it to the plenary session of the legislature for a final vote.

The agreement had been controversial from the start, and led to a stalemate in the legislature in the Summer of 2013, which only ended when the KMT and DPP caucuses in the legislature agreed to holding some 20 hearings on the effect of the pact, to be followed by  a clause-by-clause review in a joint session of the eight committees of the Legislative Yuan.

The review formally started on Wednesday, March 12th in a session chaired by DPP legislator Chen Chi-mai, but the meeting was not able to proceed due to obstruction by KMT legislators.  Mr. Chen tried again on Thursday March 13th, but to no avail.

On Monday, March 17th it was KMT legislator Chang Ching-chung’s turn to chair the meeting, but again it descended into chaos due to pushing and shoving, and even fistfights, between the two camps.  Then, instead of simply adjourning the meeting, legislator Chang (who was not even on the podium chairing the meeting, but standing in a corner with a roving microphone) declared the review completed and sent it on to the plenary session of the legislature.

This move infuriated students and civic organizations opposed to the pact, and in the evening of Tuesday, March 18th 2014, several hundred supporters pushed their way into the building and occupied the legislative chambers.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs takes the following position:

1. The Service Trade Agreement in its present form is detrimental to Taiwan and the wellbeing of its people;

2. The KMT government and the Legislative Yuan urgently need to come to an agreement to have an orderly clause-by-clause process to review the agreement.  The present heavy-handed approach is harmful to the country’s democracy;

3. As this trade agreement is an international legal instrument, it should be treated as such, and receive a formal approval by the legislature.  It cannot in any way be termed an “executive order”, and then be pushed through via the back door.

FAPA will raise this issue with its contacts in the United States Congress and the US Government, and urge both to convey their strong concerns to the Taiwan authorities about these undemocratic procedures.

台灣人公共事務會對國民黨政府忽視民主立法程序強行通過「兩岸服務貿易協議」表達憂心

台灣人公共事務會對於馬政府忽視民主立法程序,於立法院強行通過「兩岸服務貿易協議」表達憂心。

特別針對三月十七日,立法院內政委員會主席張慶忠主持八個立法院常設委員會對「服貿」的聯席初審中,在沒有任何實質審查的情形下,逕自宣佈審查通過,付交院會表決。

該協議自始便存有爭議,其立法進度更於去年夏天陷入停滯,直到朝野協商後得到舉辦二十場聽證會,說明「服貿」對台灣的影響的共識,並由立法院八個常設委員會對於協議內容進行逐條審查。

「服貿」的審查本應於三月十二日開始,由立法委員陳其邁主持,但由於國民黨籍立委的阻撓,遲至十三日都還無法開會進行審查。

至三月十七日,輪由張慶忠委員主持審查會,但由於藍綠雙方發生推擠及肢體衝突,因此又無法成會。然而,當時不在主席台上的張慶忠委員,於議場角落以無線麥克風宣佈審查完成,付交院會表決。

此舉引發學生及民間團體的抗議,並於三月十八日,由上百名抗議民眾衝入立法院並占領立法院議事廳。

台灣人公共事務會對是立場如下:

(一)、 「兩岸服務貿易協議」的協議內容對台灣及台灣人民是有害的;

(二)、 國民黨政府與立法院必須馬上達成逐條審查的共識。強行通過指會傷害台灣的民主;

(三)、 由於這項協議是國際協議,其簽署需經過完整立法程序,而不能以「行政命令」強行通過。

台灣人公共事務會會將此議題轉知美國國會及美國政府,並敦促其對台灣政府此類違反民主程序的行為表達關切。

(March 18, 2014) FAPA Deeply Disturbed By KMT Government’s Lack Of Democratic Procedures In Forcing Service Trade Agreement Through Legislative Yuan / 台灣人公共事務會對國民黨政府忽視民主立法程序強行通過「兩岸服務貿易協議」表達憂心