Opposition proposes change to Assembly and Parade Act

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–The legislative caucus of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and Lawmaker Chen Li-chun of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has jointly raised a motion to amend the Assembly and Parade Act to better safeguard the rights of nationals to assemble and parade.

A set of draft revisions to the Assembly and Parade Act failed to be ratified at the last session of the 7th-term legislature. DPP lawmaker-at-large Chen Li-chun and the TSU legislative caucus of the 8th-term legislature that was formed after the legislative election of Jan. 14, recently jointly raised a motion to amend the law, and their proposed amendments will be up for screening by the Interior Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan on May 10.

Under the proposed amendments, the requirement to apply for a rally permit in advance should be replaced with the option of notifying authorities; the administrative fees should be dropped; the competent authorities should be changed to the Ministry of the Interior and local county and city governments instead of police stations; and the regulation that assembly and parade are not allowed at the Presidential Office, courts, and areas surrounding the airports should be scrapped.

Huang Wen-lin, deputy convener of the TSU legislative caucus, said that the Assembly and Parade Act should also be renamed as “Assembly and Parade Protection Act” to effectively realize people’s freedom to assemble and parade, as set in the nation’s Constitution.  In addition, Huang stressed that if there are many groups planning to assemble or parade at the same place, coordination or lot-drawing will be adopted to determine which group will win the right.  Huang added that if the administrative fines imposed on violators of the Assembly and Parade Act is dropped as proposed, then violators will be subject to penalties set in the Criminal Code.