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.
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
Asked whether he declined to impose sanctions against China, US President Donald Trump said: “Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal... [W]hen you’re in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start throwing additional sanctions on — we’ve done a lot.” It was not a proud moment for Trump or the US. Yet, just three days later, John Bolton’s replacement as director of the National Security Council, Robert O’Brien, delivered a powerful indictment of the Chinese communist government and criticized prior administrations’ “passivity” in the face of Beijing’s contraventions of international law
In an opinion piece, Chang Jui-chuan (張睿銓) suggested that Taiwan focus its efforts not on making citizens “bilingual,” but on building a robust translation industry, as Japan has done (“The social cost of English education,” June 29, page 6). Although Chang makes some good points — Taiwan could certainly improve its translation capabilities — the nation needs a different sort of pivot: from bilingualism to multilingualism. There are reasons why Japan might not be the most suitable role model for the nation’s language policy. Bluntly put, Japan’s status in the world is unquestioned. The same cannot be said of Taiwan. Many confuse