Following an online petition urging the government to punish drunk drivers, sex offenders and child abusers by caning, Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that Taiwanese society would have reservations about the potential human rights violations.
The petition, submitted to a government-funded policy discussion platform on Oct. 23, calls for the government to impose flogging as an additional punishment for drunk driving, sex offenses and violence against children.
With the petition being endorsed by 26,771 netizens, far exceeding the 5,000-signature threshold that requires an official reply from the government, Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) is to preside over a public hearing to discuss the proposal on Dec. 1.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Although current sentiment might favor “a strict penal code in a time of turbulence,” Taiwan is a democratic and law-abiding nation where human rights are valued, Lai said, calling for a more in-depth discussion of the issue.
“A majority of the population will likely have reservations about adopting caning like in Singapore,” Lai said, without revealing his position on the issue.
Tang said the hearing would provide an opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of flogging as a punishment and the possible human rights violations it would entail, as well as its appropriateness for Taiwanese society and alternative methods to prevent crime.
No policy would be formed during the discussion, Tang added.
Asked whether the government should reject the proposal outright instead of convening a hearing over a proposal that apparently runs counter to international human rights covenants, she said that the government should not reject a petition simply because of its provocativeness.
“The person who submitted the petition said he proposed flogging because he believes the Criminal Code is ineffective in preventing those crimes and he hopes to raise public awareness about them, but he is not adamant about flogging,” Tang said.
Many petitions submitted on the platform have proposed seemingly difficult solutions to social situations that would require government efforts, and the government should understand the purpose of such petitions, if not the proposed solutions, she said.
Tang refused to express her stance on the issue, saying that she has to remain neutral as a government official and that her duty is to collect public opinion and possible solutions to facilitate the government’s decisionmaking.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to