Ahead of Human Rights Day today, Taiwan Brain Trust yesterday published a report claiming that Taiwan has moved backward on human rights issues under the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Discussing the development of human rights over the past three years, Charles Lo (羅承宗), an assistant professor of financial and economic law at Chungyu Institute of Technology, said several incidents showed the nation has made no progress on human rights, including the broadcasting contract renewal dispute between New Tang Dynasty and Chunghwa Telecom and the government’s decision to suppress protesters when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan.
“Ma said he would execute judicial reform during his term. Judging from the number of people detained for political reasons, however, the human rights situation in Taiwan’s judicial system has actually backtracked to a level that can [be compared to] that in China,” Lo said at a press conference hosted by the think tank.
Referring to a remark made by Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) that unpaid leave was an innovation that deserves a Nobel Prize, Lo said Taiwan has become a welfare state for government employees, teachers and the military.
These examples show that Ma’s administration is behaving ridiculously, Lo said.
The report said the incidents illustrating an erosion of human rights under Ma’s administration were “too numerous to record,” but it said the controversy over the musical Dreamers (夢想家) demonstrates how Ma’s administration has also drawn the wrath of members of the artistic community who believe the government used the arts to promote a political agenda.
Former Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄), who also presented at the press conference, said Taiwan was in the process of transforming itself into a free democratic country, but the nation’s human rights record has plummeted in the past three years.
“The main reason is that the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] has not changed from being a totalitarian party,” he said. “Many who are in higher authority do things that trample on human rights.”
Hsu said the nation’s human rights record had become worse because of several factors.
Apart from the “outdated human rights concepts” held by government employees, Ma’s administration treats Taiwan as a district under the “one China” framework, rather than adopting the position of “one country on each side,” he said.