Activists call for law against hate

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?:Rights campaigners want legislation to protect society from the increasingly violent language being used against homosexuals and same-sex marriage

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Dec 05, 2013 - Page 3

Rights activists have called for legislation to address discrimination following an outpouring of what they called hate language against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Public reaction toward a high-school student, known as Nelson, who took part in a Nazi uniform in a demonstration against same-sex marriage at the weekend in Taipei, was mixed.

“I feel confused to see people’s response [to Nelson’s Nazi outfit],” netizen Chang Chen-han (章宸瀚) said on the Web site of the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper). “Isn’t this the society with diversity you’ve hoped for? You like democracy, you like freedom, why would you want to block others’ ideas?”

A Facebook user, Jitianyi (姬天乙), not only praised Nelson, but also endorsed the Nazi killing of homosexuals.

“What’s wrong with Nazis killing people? Gays are incorrigible losers anyways,” Jitianyi said, and praised Nelson as someone who is brave enough to defend justice in a “polluted world.”

Jitianyi added: “Gays should be killed, it’s a unchangeable principle, an objective that has to be executed to cleanse a corrupted society.”

Earlier last month, Nelson ahd spoken out against homosexuality on Facebook, saying that he would be willing to become a suicide bomber to kill gays, while another Facebook user, Wu Wei-ting (吳威廷), responded that “we should learn from Hitler and kill all the gays, so that we won’t hear this bullshit again.”

Asked for comment, a Criminal Investigation Bureau officer surnamed Hsu (許) said that under the current law, such remarks must be very specific before they can be classed as a violation.

“It’s hard to say whether such remarks can be considered a threat, we have to look into the particular case,” he said. “We welcome anyone to print out such Internet comments and send them to the police for further investigation.”

“Unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t have laws against such hate language. We can only call on the public to refrain from using such language in discussing social issues, if we consider Taiwan as a civilized country with respect to human rights values,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights specialist Chiu I-ling (邱伊翎) said.

“As the two international human rights covenants — which have been adopted as domestic laws by the legislature — also have clauses against hate language, the government and the legislature should come up with an anti-discrimination law,” he said.

Human rights activist and attorney Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) called on the government to legislate against discriminatory language.

Meanwhile, Hu Yi-fan (胡一帆), spokesman for the Student Alliance for Defense of Families, said that while the group is against same-sex marriage, the group respects freedom of expression and wished to distance itself from those people making discriminatory remarks.