TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government announced today that it will lift martial law for the first time since Chiang Kai-shek's forces retreated to Taiwan from mainland China in 1949, replacing it with less restrictive security rules.
A statement from the ruling Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, said its 31-member Central Standing Committee approved the new regulations at its regular weekly meeting.
It did not say when martial law will be lifted, explaining that time is needed "to legislate and review the regulations."
In charge of the meeting was President Chiang Ching-kuo, 76, who is Chiang Kai-shek's son and chairman of the party that has dominated Taiwan politics since the Nationalists were driven to the island by Mao Tse-tung's victorious communist forces.
The Nationalists imposed martial law soon after their arrival and have continued it on grounds that it was needed to maintain stability and frustrate communist attempts at disruption.
According to the statement, the party has decided to replace martial law because Taiwan now is stable, secure and prosperous.
It said the recommendations will permit formation of political parties and do away with military trials of civilians accused of sedition and security violations.