by Yi Luo-ren
English /// 中文
Photo Credit: China Daily
Translator: Aaron Wytze Wilson
The following article, by Yi Luo-ren, an exchange student from Henan, China, originally appeared in the Apple Daily, and was translated into English by Aaron Wytze Wilson.
ON MARCH 28TH, a child was ruthlessly murdered, leading to a tremendous panic in Taiwan.
All kinds of methods to deal with the crime have been suggested, including: Requiring an identity card to purchase kitchen knives and everyday cutting tools. Reviving “guilt by association” from Taiwan’s martial law period, and make the parents of adult offenders also assume criminal responsibility. Strengthen police authority, and allow them the ability to force treatment on people affected with psychological disorders. Set up the death penalty as the only criminal punishment for child killers. Etc, etc.
As for the reasons why these kinds of stabbing incidents have abruptly emerged in Taiwan over the last few years, both the local media and netizens have remained largely silent, and seldom discuss the issue.
As a matter of fact, Taiwanese can simply apply for a “Taiwan compatriot permit”, and discover for themselves the “advanced” methods the Chinese government-controlled judicial system uses to punish offenders.
In Xinjiang, Guangdong, and other Chinese provinces, a piece of identification is necessary to purchase a kitchen knife, or even white sugar (which can be used to manufacture a bomb). In order to silence its critics overseas, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has also found the families of political exiles Chang Ping and Wen Yunchao guilty by association. Even a young man in China who spread ideas of Taiwanese democracy has been determined to have a “psychological disorder”, and forced to accept treatment.
In addition, China is one of the few countries to still retains a system of quick-speed interrogation and decision-making when there is “irrefutable evidence of a heinous crime”, followed by “capital punishment carried out immediately.”
But this kind of cruel torture and capital punishment can only leave one thoroughly disappointed, only hoping for the perpetrator to be on the receiving end of society’s revenge, and has no effect whatsoever. Ultimately, the only consequences are China’s continued status as the world’s number one purveyor of state executions, yearly stabbing sprees at China’s kindergartens, public buses blown up by disgruntled citizens, and people being purposefully run over by automobiles. These massacres continue indiscriminately, and become more frequent.
Indeed, draconian law has not lead to a drop in the crime rate, but has become a tool for the Chinese government to persecute the people, and oppress political dissidents.
The death penalty is only able to instill fear into white collar criminals, and those looking to benefit financially from the murder of others. But Taiwan and China’s judicial systems are frequently lenient towards these corrupt individuals involved in shady government-business collusion. People in China joke that those arrested on corruption charges are in fact, “losers of political struggle”, while in Taiwan, the likes of Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄), Lin Yi-shih (林益世) are dealt with lightly by the courts, and show that the law is only a tool for the ruling class to suppress the people.
The reason why the Taiwanese public sympathizes with this kind of Communist Party-style of rule is likely due to long-term coercive education policies instituted by the National Party (KMT). These ideas originating from the authoritarian period continue to persist today, and show that the ruling styles of the KMT and the CPC are fundamentally the same. Dictatorial governments and vested interests collude together to create a massive gap between the rich and the poor, producing a variety of social conflicts, and bring rise to social instabilities.
In order to safeguard its rule, the government enacts harsh laws, and carries out torture to intimidate people. Furthermore, in order to distract from social contradictions, the government will frequently carry out public show trials, parade petty criminal offenders through the streets, and even carry out public executions.
Taking it one step further, the government regards the people’s “low quality of character” as the pretext that brings about social unrest. In the name of safeguarding peace and stability, the government will use all-out violence to rule the people.
If we really hope our society is able to become more secure, then we should pay more attention to unjust and unfair aspects of Taiwanese society that are ignored during the education process by the party-state machine. We should not place our hopes in people that may indiscriminately use their powers against the people. This will only bring about larger social problems relating to torture and the death penalty.
At this moment, we should grieve for “Little Lightbulb” [The victim’s nickname], and hope that Taiwan and China do not experience this kind of tragedy ever again.