TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Anti-Infiltration Act will start to take effect on Wednesday (Jan. 15) to stymie malicious interference by foreign powers in Taiwan's elections, according to the Presidential Office website.
The law, which was approved by the Legislative Yuan on Dec. 31, aims to counter outside influences in the country's democratic process, especially from China. Despite protests from the opposing Kuomintang (KMT) and some Taiwanese business owners, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was able to use its majority in the legislature to pass the new law before Saturday's (Jan. 11) elections.
The Anti-Infiltration Act states that no organizations or individuals sponsored by foreign powers are permitted to provide political contributions or campaign for Taiwanese candidates. Violators are liable to face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of NT$10 million (US$334,000).
Furthermore, revealing national security information to foreign countries could result in a NT$5 million (US$152,000) fine and three years of prison time, reported Liberty Times.
Currently, the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act states that any attempts to harm social harmony through political campaign events can result in sentences of seven years or more. However, based on the Anti-Infiltration Act, the principal planners of such political offenses would face sentences of 15 years, and even life imprisonment for severe infractions.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council emphasized the new law only penalizes intentional illegal behavior, meaning Taiwanese unwittingly manipulated by foreign powers will not be subject to the regulation. The agency added the Anti-Infiltration Act is intended to prevent cross-strait political influence, not cross-strait communication.