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Human Rights in Taiwan
Amnesty International Report 2008
Aside from some legislative changes, the authorities failed to introduce significant human rights reforms.
In July, the authorities released around 10,000 prisoners under a clemency bill for those convicted of minor offences who had already served half of their terms.
Public events were organized to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the "228 incident" – the brutal military suppression of public protests in February 1947 which resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries.
No executions were carried out during 2007. Five people were sentenced to death, joining around 70-100 prisoners on death row.
In response to campaigning, the President emphasized the need for a gradual approach to abolition in order to forge a national consensus. The Ministry of Justice produced a research report analysing measures necessary for abolition, but this was not made public.
Freedom of expression
Chong De-shu, whose execution order was signed at the end of 2006, remained under sentence of death. Chang Pao-hui tried to commit suicide at Hualien prison in March by swallowing 13 batteries, apparently because he was unable to bear the stress of waiting for his execution. In June, the Taiwan High Court once again sentenced Liu Bing-lang, Su Chien-ho and Chuang Lin-hsun – known as the "Hsichih Trio" – to death overturning its 2003 not guilty verdict. The decision followed their 11th retrial in connection with murder charges originally imposed in 1991. In November, the Supreme Court rejected the verdict and returned the case to the High Court for another retrial. The case was based almost entirely on their confessions which were allegedly extracted through torture by the police.
Human rights activists continued to campaign for reforms to the Assembly and Parade Law. The law requires police permission to hold a public demonstration and is used to suppress protests about student fees, environmental concerns and other issues.
Violence against women
Several protesters were detained and harassed by police for protesting against the eviction of around 300 elderly residents of the Lo-sheng Leprosy Sanitorium in Taipei. The Government plans to demolish the facility to make way for a public transport system.
In March, the legislature passed several amendments to the Domestic Violence Prevention Law and expanded the scope of the law to include cohabiting same-sex and unmarried couples. Women reportedly continued to be trafficked into Taiwan, often to work as sex workers.