Sat, Apr 27, 2013 - Page 8 News List


Rights and powers

Taiwan is a democracy where individual rights are hailed, diversity is valued and freedom protected. However, if individual rights expand too much, governmental power will shrink proportionately and becomes inefficient. This is ominous in times of crisis.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) on Thursday was forced to suspend its service due to a signaling system problem. It took THSRC four hours of inspection before service could begin again and many passengers condemned it for lacking a backup plan. I think the company has problems, but I praise it for making passengers’ safety a priority.

At the same time, Taiwan has it first human case of H7N9 avian influenza. As the WHO has called H7N9 the most lethal bird flu virus so far, Taiwan needs to be prepared. Experts and officials believe that the virus might be evolving and could eventually mutate into one capable of human-to-human transmission.

If this happens, the government will need to make fast and bold decisions to limit the spread of the virus such as shutting schools, businesses and even the stock market. Does our government dare to take bold measures as the first sign of a catastrophe appears or will it wait until a mass outbreak?

There is often a tug of war between individual rights and governmental powers in a democracy, but do not forget that individuals mandate the government to bring order to the nation. If individuals impede authorities from using its powers, the public might suffer from the government’s inefficiency.

Steven Kang


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