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Taiwan: Proposal to Abolish Death Penalty

(June 2, 2008) On May 21, 2008, the Justice Minister of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Wang Ching-feng, announced plans to try to abolish the death penalty in Taiwan. Draft legislation has been considered in the Cabinet previously, but always failed to pass. Capital punishment retains popular support in Taiwan, with 75 percent opposing abolition, though 50 percent would be willing to end the death penalty if the most serious offenses could be punished with life-long imprisonment, according to a recent survey.

Discussing the proposed abolition, Wang stated: “[k]eeping 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. … Abolishing the death penalty is an international trend.” There are 29 people on death row in Taiwan at present; no executions have occurred there since 2006. (Taiwan's New Justice Minister Bids to Scrap Death Penalty, AFP (Hong Kong), May 21, 2008, Open Source Center No. CPP20080521968223.)