TAIWAN. JUSTICE MINISTER BIDS TO SCRAP DEATH PENALTY
May 21, 2008: Taiwan's new Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng said she will attempt to abolish the death penalty to bring the island into line with the international trend.
A bill proposing the scrapping of capital punishment has failed to pass the cabinet since 2001 amid opposition from the public. Surveys showed 76 percent of the Taiwanese people opposed scrapping capital punishment, fearing the move would lead to a rise in serious crime, Wang said.
But about half would be in favour of the move as long as those who committed serious crimes were jailed for life. "Keeping the death penalty has cost the country's international image. Especially when Taiwan is struggling to defend its fragile diplomacy, it is not worth it," Wang said a day after she took office. "Abolishing the death penalty is an international trend.... The European Union is actively pushing for the goal," she said.
Acknowledging widespread domestic objections, Wang said she would take steps to amend existing law "to eventually drop the death penalty." (Sources: Agence France Presse, 21/05/2008)