A draft amendment to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法) has passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan. The amendment is the most comprehensive of its kind since the Act was enacted in 1982.
The revised Act, which now comprises 11 chapters and 103 articles, aims to protect every citizen's right to participate in cultural heritage preservation. It will also help Taiwan keep in line with international standards by adding the category of monuments and historical sites to the tangible cultural heritage classification, and adopting the category of natural monuments to encompass Taiwan's valuable plants, mineral resources, unique landscapes, and natural phenomena.
The Act will also help further strengthen the link between the land of Taiwan and its history; promote education on cultural heritage preservation in schools at all levels; attach more importance to the heritage preservation of Taiwan's ethnic groups with respect to the mindset and values held by indigenous peoples in regard to their cultural heritage; and increase incentives for heritage preservation measures.
The amendment also calls for harsher penalties for the destruction of cultural heritage. In addition to a fine between NT$500,000 and NT$20 million, criminal punishment for the destruction of a designated or proposed monument will also incur six months to five years in prison. Administrative punishment may penalize offenders for as much as NT$2 million.
The approved amendment has incorporated both the articles drafted by the Executive Yuan and those proposed by legislators, and will come into effect after promulgation by the President. Vice Culture Minister George C. H. Hsu (許秋煌) and Bureau of Cultural Heritage Director Shy Gwo-long (施國隆) led a delegation to thank all legislators, heritage experts, and civic representatives who made the landmark amendment possible.