Sun, Jan 31, 2016 - Page 3 News List

President’s rights record slammed

By Chen Yu-fu  /  Staff reporter Staff Reporter

Academics and activists yesterday criticized President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) civil rights and foreign policy at a forum hosted by the Taiwan Forever Association.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator-elect Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said that while he had backed the passage of the Police Power Exercise Act (警察職權行使法) — which requires police to use force proportionally and reveal their identities, the act was promulgated before the Sunflower movement’s 2014 occupation of the Executive Yuan’s Main Chamber and people never thought that the “the police would actually beat people.”

Ascertaining who was responsible for what happened is an important part of realizing transitional justice, he said.

Taiwan Forever Association secretary-general Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠) said he has been kept busy during the eight years of Ma’s administration.

While Ma pushed for legislation giving both the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights the force of domestic law, his respect for human rights could only be called “counterfeit” because of the numerous human rights violation cases that occurred under his watch, Kao said.

He dismissed the government’s claim that it was unable to identify the police officers responsible for hitting protesters, stating that police have a face recognition system for which the Ministry of Science and Technology has also contributed funds.

While legislation requires police officers to wear identification stating their names and positions, they often wear raincoats while on duty to avoid recognition, he said.

In related news, Academia Sinica research fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said that Beijing’s “united front” strategy is complicated and is now focused on enforcing the “suzerainty” of Taiwan. If Taiwan accepts the so-called “1992 consensus,” it would be difficult to turn back because its essence is that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China,” he said, adding that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Ma no longer refer to the “different interpretations” aspect of the formula as evidenced by Ma’s remarks during his visit to Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) on Thursday.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed understanding reached during cross-strait talks in 1992 that Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former KMT lawmaker Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 said that he had made up the term in 2000, when he was head of the Mainland Affairs Council, before the KMT handed power to the DPP.

It is fortunate the Sunflower movement happened because it interfered with Beijing’s “united front” strategy, leading it to begin talking about the “1992 consensus” after the KMT’s defeat in the 2013 local elections, Wu said.

Previously, Beijing had only referred to the “one country, two systems” formula he said, adding that last year’s meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was an effort at “precautionary damage control” by China ahead of Taiwanese national elections.

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