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  • Interpretation
  • No.475
  • Date
  • 1999/01/29
  • Issue
    • Article 63, Paragraph 3, of the Act Governing Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area provides that the payment of all the national bonds issued before 1949 should be deferred until national reunification. Does the provision of said Article violate Article 23 of the Constitution, thus infringing upon bond holders’ property rights protected by the Constitution?
  • Holding
    •        The National Assembly, responding to necessity before national reunification, enacted amendments to the Constitution, Article 11 of which provides that "For managing affairs and relations of rights and obligations between people living in the free area and the mainland area, relevant laws may be specifically enacted." 
      
    •        The government*s treasury bonds issued before 1949 in the mainland area had been issued on the basis of meeting the then nation*s financial needs and guaranteed by the then nation*s (including the mainland area) tax revenue and other assets. It was a huge sum. Thereafter, due to national convulsions, the government retreated to Taiwan. Thus, the guarantee basis of those bonds has changed. Apparently, it would be against the principle of equality if the current government were to pay those debts immediately because this would put a heavy burden on the people in the Taiwan area. Accordingly, the legislature, based on the delegation provided in Article 11 of the Amendments, enacted the Act Governing Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area, Article 63, Paragraph 3, of which provides that those unpaid foreign currencies or gold-based bonds issued before 1949 in the mainland area and those debts owed by national banks and financial institutions receiving deposits incurred before the government*s retreat to Taiwan would not be paid before national reunification. This deferral imposed on creditors’ rights to the government is consistent with the abovementioned amendments to the Constitution. It is furthermore not in conflict with Article 23 of Constitution, which specifies the criteria under which the people*s freedoms and rights may be restrained.
  • Reasoning
    •        The National Assembly, responding to necessity before national reunification, according to Article 27 Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 3, and Article 174, Subparagraph 1, enacted amendments to the Constitution, Article 11 of which provides that "For managing affairs and relations of rights and obligations between people living in the free area and the mainland area, relevant laws may be specifically enacted." 
      
    •        The government*s treasury bonds issued before 1949 in the mainland area had been issued on the basis of consolidating the then nation*s financial needs and guaranteed by the then nation*s (including the mainland area) tax revenue and other assets. It was a huge sum. Thereafter, due to national convulsions, the government retreated to Taiwan. Thus, the guarantee basis of those bonds has changed. Apparently, it would be against the principle of equality if the current government were to pay those debts immediately because this would put a heavy burden on people in the Taiwan area.    
      
    •        Although the people*s freedoms and rights are protected by the Constitution, the legislature, balancing the public interests gained and private interests lost and meeting the criteria provided in Article 23 of Constitution, may enact laws to restrain them. Furthermore, they will not be in conflict with the Constitution when, under certain circumstances, the Constitution explicitly delegates the legislature to enact those specific laws. The Act Governing Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area, as promulgated on July 31, 1992, has been enacted on the basis of the delegation provided in Article 11 of Amendments. Article 63, Paragraph 3, of that Act provides that those unpaid foreign currencies or gold-based bonds issued before 1949 in the mainland area and those debts owed by national banks and financial institutions receiving deposits incurred before the government*s retreat to Taiwan would not be paid before national reunification. Being a necessity under the changed circumstances, this deferral imposed on creditors’ rights to the government is not in conflict with the abovementioned purpose of the Constitution and its Amendments and, hence, is not unconstitutional.  
      
    • *Translated by Dr. Tze-Shiou Chien, Associate Research Fellow, The Sun Yat-Sen Institute for the Social Sciences and Philosophy, Academia Sinica.
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