Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged parliament on Wednesday to have more discussion on a proposed anti-infiltration bill which the government says is needed to combat Chinese influence and has been condemned by the main opposition and Beijing.
The legislation is part of a years-long effort to combat what many in Taiwan see as Chinese efforts to influence politics and the democratic process on the island. China claims Taiwan as its territory, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary.
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has begun a renewed push for the legislation, ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 11, and it could be passed before the end of the year.
Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, which favors close ties with China, has condemned the proposed legislation as a “political tool” of Tsai and her DPP to gain votes while trying to paint them as Chinese Communist Party agents.
Speaking at a policy presentation on live television, Tsai said other democracies around the world had either already passed or were looking at passing such legislation to prevent Chinese interference in their internal affairs.
“Compared to these countries, Taiwan is more directly confronted with various threats and infiltration from China,” said Tsai.
But some people at home think this “democratic protection net” is a provocation and akin to martial law, she added.