Death penalty to be re­tained but used cau­tiously: pres­i­dent

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Pres­i­dent Ma Ying- jeou said Sun­day that his gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy is to re­tain the death penalty but use it cau­tiously, as it has been do­ing in re­cent years.

Ad­dress­ing a na­tional youth pol­icy fo­rum, Ma asked the par­tic­i­pants about their views on the con­tro­ver­sial is­sue of the death penalty.

Among the 85 par­tic­i­pants at the an­nual fo­rum that was or­ga­nized by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, 26 said they sup­ported abo­li­tion of the death penalty law, while 46 said they did not.

One of the par­tic­i­pants who ex­pressed sup­port for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment said peo­ple who take oth­ers’ lives should be pun­ished.

Another par­tic­i­pant said he could not sup­port the idea of abol­ish­ing the death penalty be­cause a mem­ber of his fam­ily had been a vic­tim of homi­cide. The per­pe­tra­tor re­ceived a prison sen­tence of 14 years, which was com­muted to eight years, he said.

The killer even­tu­ally left prison, while the vic­tim’s fam­ily con­tin­ues to suf­fer ev­er­last­ing pain, said the young par­tic­i­pant, who did not give his name.

Tak­ing the other side of the ar­gu­ment, a par­tic­i­pant said each life is unique, and one should not choose re­venge af­ter be­ing hurt, but rather should choose for­give­ness.

“A life for a life is too ex­treme,” the youth said.

In re­sponse, Ma said that dur­ing his ten­ure as jus­tice min­is­ter 1993-1996, more than 50 deathrow pris­on­ers were ex­e­cuted, but now there are only five or six ex­e­cu­tions per year.

The gov­ern­ment will not abol­ish the death penalty at this time but will use it with cau­tion, Ma said.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice has been re­view­ing the pol­icy and is dis­in­clined to carry out such sen­tences.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Luo Ying-shay, one of the many Cab­i­net mem­bers who at­tended the fo­rum, said that while the death penalty is a thorny is­sue, it can be easily de­cided by le­gal means in a demo­cratic coun­try.

While all paci­fists many want to see the death penalty done away with, this can only be done by means of a ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion in so­ci­ety, the min­is­ter said.

The fo­rum was also at­tended by Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Wu Se-hwa and 85 par­tic­i­pants, ages 18 to 35, from around the coun­try.

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