Control Yuan president defends death penalty

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Dec 25, 2012 - Page 1

Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien yesterday reiterated his opposition to ending the death penalty and called on international human rights activists to refrain from advocating the abolition of capital punishment in Taiwan and elsewhere.

The pressure that the execution of six inmates on Friday could bring to bear on Taiwan, with worse human rights records in annual rankings, “is not something we should take to heart,” Wang said during an interview on Hit FM radio.

Wang granted an interview to program anchor Clara Chou (周玉蔻) after the Ministry of Justice ordered the execution of six death row inmates on Friday, which brought the number of people executed since 2010 to 15, following a hiatus of more than four years.

The latest executions sparked an outcry from human rights -activists in the EU.

Asked by Chou about concerns that the executions could damage the nation’s human rights record, because it is subject to a review of its efforts to comply with UN human rights covenants by a group of international human rights experts in February, Wang said people in favor of retaining the death penalty did not have to worry.

“Why should we be led by the nose by other people? Why should we care about this? If it would make you a ‘Miss China’ if you let me cut your face with a knife and you got a scar on your face, would you let me?” Wang said in reply.

International human rights groups contribute to the advancement of human rights in every country in the world, Wang said.

“However, not everything they advocate for is the right thing to do. It’s absolutely wrong [to end the death penalty]. What kind of worldwide trend is this? It’s your business, keep track of it here,” Wang said.

Wang urged international human rights groups not to persuade other countries to abolish the death penalty because it is a matter of justice.

“Death-row inmates die from one or two gun shots and they are given anesthesia to reduce pain before they are shot so they don’t feel fear or dread, but for victims, they are full of horror during their suffering. Anti-death penalty activists talk about human rights for death-row inmates, what about human rights for victims?” Wang said.

He questioned the argument that the death penalty does not deter crime.

“If capital punishment is not an effective deterrent to crime, are imprisonment or life sentences effective? If that argument makes sense, why don’t we eliminate all penalties?” he said.