Taiwan is to protect the right of nursing mothers to breastfeed in public with hefty fines for those who try to stop them, as part of a campaign to promote the practice, officials said Wednesday.

The government's Bureau of Health Promotion is drafting a bill that would impose a penalty of up to 30,000 Taiwan dollars (940 US dollars) for anyone attempting to prevent breastfeeding in public, a bureau official said.

"Breastfeeding is a global trend and we want to ensure a better environment for mothers to nurse their babies," said the official, who works for the bureau's women and children affairs' division.

The bill will require final approval by parliament.

The rule came after an outcry over an earlier incident when five women were forced to leave a museum in Taipei after they were found to be openly nursing their babies.

The bureau will air a commercial featuring mothers nursing their children in various public places, including a department store and a train station, to promote the concept, she said.

aw/ph/jah

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