Sat, Oct 22, 2016 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Lawmakers are not gods

During the reviews of the nominees for the Council of Grand Justices, some legislators questioned whether the nominees are patriotic, based on whether they would sing the national anthem.

Since I have no legal background at all, it would be greatly appreciated if these legislators could address the following issues in their questioning of the nominees: How should the phrase “the Three Principles of the People, the foundation of our party” be interpreted and explained? Can the ideals or dogma of a political party be incorporated into the Constitution? Would that be in line with the democratic political ideals of a modern society?

Unfortunately, the legislative question-and-answer sessions seem to have deteriorated into a question of whether or not the nominees sing the national anthem.

That the nominees are being called in to question based on whether they would sing the anthem brings to mind the scene in director Wan Jen’s (萬仁) film Super Citizen Ko (超級大國民) in which a victim of political persecution about to be executed walks through a dark prison corridor. As he does so, he shows the signs for the Chinese characters “2” and “1” as a symbol of Article 2, Clause 1 of the Punishment of Rebellion Act (懲治叛亂條例), which stipulated the death sentence for “committing an overt act with intent to destroy the organization of the state.”

Based on “intent,” the government sent dissidents to the execution ground, and those that were deemed guilty during the White Terror era were determined by the government to be guilty of having such “intent.”

In today’s Taiwan, is “intent” sufficient to assume that people of differing political opinions are guilty of something? Can people assume that nominees for a seat on the Council of Grand Justices are not patriots just because they do not want to sing the national anthem? This kind of questioning perfectly highlights how controversial the text of the anthem is.

We live in a mature democracy, and everyone is of course free to have an opinion about the suitability of the grand justice nominees and their qualifications.

However, legislators should not use accusations of “intent” to force someone to reveal their inner convictions — they must remember that they are ordinary people, not gods.

Huang Ju-hui

Taipei

Second-class citizens

I was appalled on a recent visit to Alishan National Scenic Area to find that ticket prices for foreign visitors were 50 percent higher than those for Taiwanese. On explaining that I possessed an Alien Permanent Residency Certificate, the ticket man said that only a full national ID card would warrant local prices.

The government must put an end to this. If Taiwan expects foreigners to continue to come here to work, pay taxes, integrate properly and assimilate into society, then it needs to treat them as fellow human beings, not as second-class citizens.

Furthermore, the government has pumped money into the tourism industry over the last few years, and yet at the same time, visitors are discriminated against when they get here. It does not look good.

I should add that this has not been my experience in most other parts of the nation and that generally speaking, Taiwanese are some of the most welcoming people I have met. Nonetheless, this anomaly needs to be addressed to protect Taiwan’s image as an inclusive and welcoming holiday destination.

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