Protesters disrupt first regional seminar on pension reform

Protesters disrupted the first regional seminar to discuss reforming Taiwan’s deficit-ridden pension programs on Saturday, forcing the meeting to end earlier than scheduled, an outcome described as regretful by Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁).

Chen is the head of the national pension reform committee under the Presidential Office, which organized the seminar in Taipei, the first of a series of regional meetings planned around Taiwan to solicit opinions on reforms of the pension system.

Saturday’s meeting was hosted by Minister of Labor Kuo Fong-yu (郭芳煜) and Minister of Civil Service Chou Hung-hsien (周弘憲), and was attended by more than 150 representatives of current and retired civil servants, teachers, laborers, farmers, related government agencies and political parties, according to a statement issued by the committee.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the building where the meeting was taking place, it said.

After the meeting started, several protesters entered the building and proceeded to stand outside the venue shouting and seeking to disrupt its proceedings, the statement added.

Chen said the incident was regrettable and urged everyone concerned about pension reforms to voice their opinion in a way that respects the rights of others to do the same, according to the statement.

Noting that there are three further seminars in central, southern and eastern Taiwan in the coming month, Chen said he hoped they would be more productive.

Although the meeting was cut short, the committee said it had still listened to many opinions from different groups represented at the meeting.

The committee stressed that it is seeking to ensure all groups impacted by pension reform are heard during the consultative process.

The three remaining seminars will be held on Jan. 7, 8 and 14, before a national convention convenes on Jan. 21-22 and strives to draft proposals based on a broad government-public consensus on related pension reform issues.

The conclusions of the convention will be used as a basis to draft law amendments that will reform the pension system and save it from impending bankruptcy.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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