Human rights in this country are about to take another step forward. The Presidential Office's consultative team on human rights has drafted a human-rights bill based on the the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It stresses protecting human rights and realizing President Chen Shui-bian's (
The bill adopts many advanced concepts, such as abolishing the death penalty and allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. These are major breakthroughs and deserve kudos. However, they are also highly controversial social issues. Long-running efforts will be needed to realize them in the legal system.
Death-for-death retribution is an outmoded concept. Correcting the psychological and behavioral patterns of criminals so that they can return to society after they have served their punishment is now the goal. However, many serious criminals have caused great harm to society. It is difficult for them to change even after receiving correctional education and treatment. They should remain quarantined from society.
The DPP has long advocated abolishing the death penalty, but public satisfaction with law enforcement and social order has always been low. The idea of using heavy punishment to tackle social chaos is also prevalent. Public support for the death penalty has always been above 70 percent. Such a strong psychological dependence on the death penalty means the government dares not push hard to abolish it. It can only resort to legislative amendments to remove articles requiring mandatory death penalties so that judges can mete out appropriate penalties according to the gravity of the crime.
This country needs to undergo more education about the rule of law before the death penalty can be removed. The public needs to be educated that the death penalty is not the only option for improving law and order. The death penalty may be an effective way to stop criminals from harming others, but it is certainly not the only way to keep major criminals out of society.
Apart from the death penalty, life sentences have long been used to remove criminals from society, but the abuse of parole and amnesties have allowed some serious criminals -- such as Chen Chin-hsing (
Even though the US is a country that attaches importance to human rights, many of its states still have the death penalty. However, several of theses states are gradually adopting the option of life sentences without parole instead of death ? -- largely because of dissatisfaction with the handling of such cases. Far too many people who were sentenced to death have been found to be innocent after spending years, even decades, on death row.
Before it tries to abolish capital punishment, the government should introduce a "life-without-parole" sentence. This may encourage people to believe that there are effective ways to protect society from serious offenders, other than taking life. This will be an effective alternative to the death penalty.
Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) hasn’t had a very good spring, either economically or politically. Not that long ago, he seemed to be riding high. The PRC economy had been on a long winning streak of more than six percent annual growth, catapulting the world’s most populous nation into the second-largest power, behind only the United States. Hundreds of millions had been brought out of poverty. Beijing’s military too had emerged as the most powerful in Asia, lagging only behind the US, the long-time leader on the global stage. One can attribute much of the recent downturn to the international economic
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please