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Newly amended Political Archives Act takes effect

02/28/2024 07:50 PM
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Pexels photo for illustrative purpose only.
Pexels photo for illustrative purpose only.

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) The newly amended Political Archives Act came into effect on Wednesday, on the 77th anniversary of the 228 Incident, an important element in government efforts to restore truth and boost social harmony through the pursuit of transitional justice.

The amended Act promulgated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in late December eliminates the requirement that all political files and national security information must remain permanently confidential, in place since the act was enacted in 2019, the National Archives Administration said.

Over the past four years, the administration has categorized and classified the political files it has collected with the aim of facilitating their wider use and application.

The amendments to the Act also authorize the government to continue expanding the collection of political files, with a particular focus on records and documents related to the 228 Incident from Aug. 15, 1945 to Nov. 6, 1992, and those from the 1949-1987 Martial Law era, with documents after Nov. 6, 1992 also declassified, it said.

Political files categorized as containing classified national security information should be declassified after 40 years, with the exemption of those containing the identities of agents in China, national security intelligence operations in China or other countries, the declassification of which would pose a serious threat to national security, the administration said.

Government agencies possessing archives that are unavailable to be made public can apply to the National Security Bureau for a delay in declassification, with each application approved by the National Security Council lasting up to three years, the administration said.

Agencies with permanently classified files will be required to conduct a declassification assessment within six months of the Act being enacted. If they fail to do so during the given time period, the files will be automatically unsealed, the administration said, adding that political files previously classified for national security or for foreign relations reasons will be unsealed with immediate effect.

To protect the interests of those mentioned in such documents, the administration said the Act also requires it to notify them of their right to priority access and deny others access to the information.

(By Flor Wang and C. L. Liu)

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