Civil society organizations in Taiwan alarmed by proposed legal amendments threatening privacy and rights

Civil society organizations in Taiwan alarmed by proposed legal amendments threatening privacy and rights

The Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” fully supports all lawmakers, organizations and citizens who are protesting against the proposed laws which would put Taipei under the political control of Beijing. We stand in solidarity with the Taiwanese people who is protecting democracy and the rule of law in Taiwan. Below is a press release of Doublethink Lab, Hong Kong Outlanders, Taiwan Hong Kong for Democracy, The Prospect Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Association of Taiwan Journalists, and Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan.

Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) lawmakers have sparked widespread concern among civil society organizations (CSOs) in Taiwan with proposed legal amendments that could compromise the security and privacy rights of all residents, especially vulnerable communities.

The amendments, purportedly aimed at enhancing oversight of President Lai Ching-te’s administration, contain provisions that could be exploited to target individuals and organizations in possession of sensitive information. Instead of fostering transparency, these changes risk stifling free expression, association, and assembly.

One of the most troubling proposals involves granting Taiwan’s parliament the authority to establish investigatory committees with the power to compel testimony and the submission of data and documents from military personnel, government officials, and civil society representatives. Of particular concern is the lack of safeguards against abuse, especially given the pro-Beijing majority in the Legislative Yuan. There are fears that these new powers could facilitate human rights violations and transnational repression.

Hong Kongers residing in Taiwan fear that the proposed amendments could expose them to surveillance and persecution by China, highlighting the potential consequences for those handling sensitive information or advocating for marginalized communities.

Civil society organizations emphasize the importance of upholding democratic principles and constitutional rights, calling on lawmakers to withdraw the proposed amendments and engage in transparent, inclusive parliamentary processes. You can find the joint statement here that has been signed by Taiwanese and international CSOs including Doublethink Lab, Article 19, Taiwan Association for Human Rights and many more.

We urge all stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, to join us in safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy and defending the rights of its citizens and global partners.