Citizens demand justice and use of death penalty by gov’t

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By John Liu ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Thousands of people took to the street on Sunday calling for a robust justice system and expressed support for the death penalty for better civilian protection in the wake of the grisly beheading of a 4-year-old girl in broad daylight occurred recently.

Despite abrupt rainfalls in the afternoon, family demonstrators showed up at Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard (凱達格蘭大道) starting at 2 p.m. Holding white roses in their hands, adults clothed in dark with their kids in white, demanded justice from the government as a measure to ensure the safety of the next generation. The White Rose Social Care Association (白玫瑰關懷協會), organizer of the event, called for an amendment to the regulations and said that death penalty should be issued when necessary. A man surnamed Lee who brought his wife and two daughters to the demonstration yesterday said after the appalling beheading murder he now fears for his children’s safety. By making to the Ketagalan Boulevard he hopes the government will take notice of the citizens’ concerns and make an effort to make public places safer. People who don’t have kids are worried too. A woman surnamed Lin said she has been saddened by the girl’s murder. Dismissing the claim that the death penalty aims to “end violence by means of violence,” Lin said Taiwan is not ready for the abolition of the death sentence yet. Its elimination may embolden potential criminals, Lin said, adding that the death penalty should still be exercised when needed. Forensic expert Kao Ta-cheng (高大成) who participated in yesterday’s demonstration concurred that the penalty’s immediate annulment may result in higher murder rates in Taiwan. “Our society is less forgiving to people committing felonies, therefore making it difficult for them to make corrections and start anew in life. Society is partly to blame for making it difficult for criminals to become better,” Kao said.

The Legality of Death Penalty Sunday’s demonstration was attended by Eva Liang (梁毓芳), head of the White Rose Social Care, a psychiatrist and a forensic expert who all gave speeches on site. Self defense lessons were also provided at the march. The death penalty is enshrined in the Criminal Code, Liang stressed. The judge, therefore, should mandate the sentence if it is deemed appropriate, and not to be swayed by personal beliefs, she said. Incorporating U.N.-adopted International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights does not effectively invalidate Taiwan’s death penalty, Liang pointed out. Until reform of the legal framework is conducted, the existing system cannot be violated by any individual or political party, she stressed.