Taiwan Legislative Yuan approves Anti-Infiltration Act aimed at China

Opposition criticizes act's passage just before January 11 elections

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DPP lawmakers celebrating the passage of the Anti-Infiltration Act Tuesday (Dec. 31). 

DPP lawmakers celebrating the passage of the Anti-Infiltration Act Tuesday (Dec. 31).  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Legislative Yuan passed the third reading of the Anti-Infiltration Act on Tuesday (Dec. 31), with the aim of countering Chinese influence in Taiwan's elections.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) used its majority in the legislature to approve the proposal, even though the opposition said it came too close to the January 11 presidential and legislative elections and should have been reviewed by the newly elected legislature instead.

Under the new law, accepting political funding from an “outside enemy force” and helping that side expand its influence in Taiwan could result in a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of NT$10 million (US$334,000), CNA reported.

Over the span of five hours on Tuesday, lawmakers reviewed each article of the proposal and voted on its fate. The DPP caucus first came up with the bill on Nov. 27, and two days later it passed its first reading.

The ruling party has defended the proposal by saying it was essential to prevent foreign interference in order to safeguard the island’s hard-won democratic system.

However, the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) charged that the law was an example of “green terror” by the government to intimidate its opponents. The party’s lawmakers left the review session Tuesday and boycotted the voting, according to CNA. They are also planning to take the law to the Council of Grand Justices for an interpretation of its constitutionality.