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Taiwan

I. Functioning of the National Legislature

Under the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan), in order to avert imminent danger affecting the security of the state or of the people, or to cope with any serious financial or economic crises, the President may, by resolution of the Executive Yuan Council, issue emergency orders. Such emergency orders must be presented to the top legislature, the Legislative Yuan, for ratification within 10 days of issuance. Should the Legislative Yuan disagree, the emergency orders will cease to be valid immediately.[1]

The President has not issued an emergency order for the current COVID-19 situation, saying that Taiwan’s “legal and policy tools are sufficient.” The Legislative Yuan has quickly enacted a special law in response to the current pandemic. “If future changes in conditions have a greater impact on the economy and society, we will take further action as necessary, and make decisions about carrying out swift legal amendments or issuing emergency orders based on actual needs,” the President said on March 19, 2020.[2]

According to the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power, in order to hold a meeting, one-third of the total members who have registered for the current Legislative Yuan session must be present.[3]

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II. Measures Taken During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although the Legislative Yuan is still operating, it has reportedly decided that if there are two or more members confirmed to have COVID-19 infections, the meeting rooms will cease operations and the Legislative Yuan sessions will be conducted by video conference.[4] The members will be asked to attend meetings using laptops that have been distributed to them. However, the validity of video voting is still to be determined by bipartisan discussions, according to the news report. The Legislative Yuan is also implementing measures to limit journalists’ access to the legislative building.[5]

In the past several days, the Legislative Yuan has tested its videoconferencing system. It has also restricted the numbers of attendees in the meeting rooms, which may not exceed 50 for regular committees and 80 for large committees. Heads of ministries are allowed to bring only one aide when attending meetings in the Legislative Yuan.[6]

In addition, the Legislative Yuan has been closed to visitors from the public since March 9, 2020. Members and staff are prohibited from traveling abroad during the COVID-19 epidemic. [7]

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Prepared by Laney Zhang
Foreign Law Specialist
March 2020


[1] Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China (adopted Apr. 22, 1991, last rev. June 7, 2005, promulgated June 10, 2005) art. 2(3), https://perma.cc/WJ5B-F7TB (in Chinese), English translation available at https://perma.cc/5BPD-S3SH.

[2] President Tsai Issues Remarks Regarding Government Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan) (Mar. 19, 2020), https://perma.cc/TS5Q-QAS5.

[3] Law Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (promulgated Jan. 25, 1999, last rev. Nov. 21, 2018) art. 4, https://perma.cc/4C65-82HA (in Chinese). 

[4] Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan Legislature to Adopt Video Conferencing If Two Members Have Coronavirus, Taiwan News (Mar. 9, 2020), https://perma.cc/T2PC-FG25.

[5] Id.

[6] Qiu Caiwei & Liu Wanlin, Fewer Members in Meetings; President of Legislative Yuan: Heads of Ministries May Bring Only One Aide, United Evening News (Mar. 23, 2020), https://perma.cc/JN4K-VZV8 (in Chinese).

[7] Epidemic Control Q&A, Legislative Yuan, https://perma.cc/B4SS-7XU3 (in Chinese).

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020