The amendment seeks to add a clause that allows elected representatives to gather personal information for investigation without the knowledge of the person concerned.You can see how a law that permits "elected representatives" to look into private records presents almost limitless possibilities for abuse. Like, for example, your neighbors who want to nose into the private life of the weird foreigner next door can ask their lin/li zhang to check for them, assuming the law means any elected official.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) expressed strong opposition to the proposed amendment.
“This is a Chiu Yi [邱毅] clause,” he said, suggesting that the clause was especially written for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator so he could legally look into personal data and records of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
“I’ve heard that the Ministry of Justice and Judicial Yuan all support [the amendment]. The DPP opposes this,” Gao said.
Several other members of the DPP also opposed the proposal, saying that the clause would seriously damage an individual’s right to privacy.
Defending his proposal, KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said that elected representatives have the right and responsibility to protect citizens from corruption.
“I strongly believe that [elected representatives] should not be required to inform the individual who is being investigated, because if I’m in the middle of trying to expose corruption, and I’m required to inform [the person] first, then I would have no corruption to expose,” he said.
“However, if I make a mistake in accusing [someone] of corruption, I would be held legally responsible,” he said.
We already have an investigative arm with full authority, prosecutors and police. We don't need legislators collecting private information they can use in campaigns or in blackmail, or to buy votes or gain leverage over voters. The Taipei Times has an editorial on Hsieh and the law.
Echo Taiwan points to a Liberty Times story about a high school student who shouted at Ma to step down, and was immediately detained by the police. How many times did people shout that at Chen Shui-bian?
According to the Liberty Times (嗆「馬英九下台」高三生遭逮捕), the student was interrogated in the police station, which scared the student's mother to death. She asked the police for leniency. The police didn't release the student until some document was signed (confession of a crime?) and the student got finger-printed.It looks like an isolated case of police overzealousness. Someone needs to speak to the cops, though.
The police office at HSR Chiayi Station claims that the reason they "brought" the student in is to "persuade him to focus on study in order to be a good student". They also claim that they conducted "personal information investigation" for the safety of president.
The government said yesterday that for certain civil service positions related to China -- not all positions -- applicants would be tested on the PRC constitution. A few hours later it reversed that position.
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