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Nov 10, 2008

Fact Check on KMT claim: "DPP repeatedly killed Parade & Assembly Law amendment efforts"

My memory fails me on this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if this claim is true, since the DPP was not too thrilled about the unprecedented 24-hour Oust A-bian protests. The law is draconian and hasn't been amended since 2002, with the previous revision 10 years earlier (the law was originally passed in 1988.

But I thought the best way to test it is to go through the record and do some fact checking. What we want to do is check the 6th Legislative Yuan's record (pre-2008 legislative elections), which will let us know just what happened to these bills. Although there was some discussion on the topic before the Oust A-bian movement, no one cared that much.

During the entire 6th Legislative Yuan, there were a total of four proposed amendments to the parade and assembly law. All were raised between September 2006 and December 2006. The first two were KMT led efforts; the third a DPP/TSU sponsored bill; and the last was a PFP initiative. For simplicities sake, we will refer to them in chronological order as the first, second, third and fourth proposals (actually the opposite of how the picture above displays them).

The first proposal passed first reading and was sent on to the Internal Administrative Committee (內政委員會) and the Ethnic Affairs Committee (民族委員會). It hasn't moved since. The third proposal was sent to and has been stuck in the same committees as the first.

The second proposal was eventually sent back to the Procedural Committee (程序委員會), where it died. The fourth proposal, like the second, found itself sent back to the Procedural Committee.

So now we only need to find out what happened to the first and third proposal. And we find that it was promptly ignored by both sides. There appears to be no attempt by either party during the remainder of the 6th LY or early part of the 7th to review either the DPP or KMT verisons.

[Of course, there is very little oversight of these committee meetings (no video recordings available), so it's difficult to judge the accuracy of this statement. But searches through news in 2006, when you include the committee name, don't show up much; if you look for key words that indicate one party tries to block discussion of legislation (like 杯葛 or 封殺), you get even less, and certainly nothing relevant.]

Most surprisingly in light of KMT claims, it appears the KMT legislators made a promise to make this bill their first priority in the 7th Legislative Yuan if they won power; since they've taken the super majority, the bill has just fallen off their radar.

Further, the DPP would have to stop the committee meeting all together with fights, since the KMT still had control of the committies and their review of legislation.

Conclusion: KMT claims that the DPP killed the amendments to the Assembly And Parade Law are flat out lies, but the DPP also made no greater effort than the KMT to push through amendments.

This reinforces recent student efforts to keep their movement non-partisan, because it goes to show you really can't trust either party to do the right thing on this issue without enough pressure.

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