Travel Restrictions Imposed on 10,000 NCSIST Personnel Due to National Security Concerns

On 18 May 2021, in light of the defense technology research and development conducted at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), the Legislative Yuan passed an amendment to the “Act for the Establishment of the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (國家中山科學研究院設置條例),” which amendment added Article 33-1 requiring all NCSIST personnel to obtain a permit from NCSIST before traveling abroad (especially to China, Hong Kong, and Macau), and designating the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to establish further details for the application and other matters of said permit.
On 5 July 2021, MND announced a draft version of the “Regulations for National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology Staff  Applications to Travel Abroad (國家中山科學研究院人員申請出國出境辦法)” in order to gather public opinions on the measures, before such Regulations are put into force.
The draft Regulations stipulate the scope of the NCSIST’s personnel who will be required to obtain a permit before traveling abroad, including NCSIST’s president and vice president, alternative military servicemen, the group or person responsible for matters relating to national security/military security/national defense security, and personnel who contract with NCSIST, along with other directors/supervisors/consultants and counsel.  The scope is estimated to include approximately 10,000 of the NCSIST’s personnel.  Further, such personnel will continuously be restricted from travel abroad after they cease working at NCSIST for a period of three years.  In addition, if China, Hong Kong, or Macau is the transit place or final destination, the relevant personnel must obtain approval before embarking on such travel.
Once the Regulations come into force, the NCSIST’s personnel will be required to obtain a permit from the NCSIST, or such personnel will be punished by administrative sanction (according to the Immigration Act), which punishment may even be imprisonment for two years (according to the Classified National Security Information Protection Act).
DPP Legislator Din-Lin Chao (趙天麟) opined that the measures restricting NCSIST’s personnel from traveling abroad are meaningful and vital to Taiwan’s national security.
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