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TITLE: TAIWAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994 AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DATE: FEBRUARY 1995 TAIWAN Taiwan has a constitutional system headed by President Lee Teng-hui, who was elected by the National Assembly (NA) in 1990. President Lee, who is also the Chairman of the Nationalist Party (KMT), appoints the Executive Yuan (EY), or Cabinet, which has been headed since February 1993 by Premier Lien Chan. The Legislative Yuan (LY) approves the selection of the Premier. Members of the NA and LY were chosen in free and fair elections in 1991 and 1992, respectively. The KMT remains the country's dominant political force, but two opposition parties also command considerable public support. During 1994 Taiwan made significant progress in its transition to a democratic, multiparty political system--a process which began with the lifting of martial law in 1987--by holding generally free and fair popular elections for three previously appointed positions, the governor of Taiwan province and the mayors of the cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung, and by passing constitutional amendments that provide for the direct election of both the President and Vice President. The first direct presidential election is scheduled for 1996. The Ministries of Interior (MOI), Justice (MOJ), and National Defense (MND) are responsible for law enforcement relating to internal security. The National Police Administration (NPA) of the Ministry of Interior, the NPA's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) carry out their law enforcement functions in accordance with laws designed to respect and safeguard individual human rights. Reports of occasional abuses by these agencies, however, continue to exist. The National Security Bureau and military police units also play a limited law enforcement role. Taiwan has a dynamic, free market economy, although state and party-run enterprises dominate some major sectors, including finance, transportation, utilities, shipbuilding, steel, telecommunications, and petrochemicals. The economy continued its shift toward the service sector and capital and technology-intensive industries, due to shortages of unskilled labor and high domestic labor and land costs. Although the overall human rights environment improved, there continued to be human rights abuses. These included a few alleged cases of extrajudicial killings and torture by the security forces, infringements on internationally accepted standards of due process, restrictions on the freedoms of press and assembly, child prostitution and abuse, discrimination and violence against women, restrictions on workers' freedom of association, and limitations on workers' freedom to strike. RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing There were no reports of political killings. In October the family of a Tainan prisoner who died in August accused the prison staff of beating the prisoner to death and charged that the authorities were conspiring to cover up the circumstances. This case was still under investigation at year's end. In September the family of a soldier in Kaohsiung claimed that excessive exercise he was ordered to undertake as a form of punishment caused his death. A legislator raised this incident in an emergency interpellation to the Ministry of National Defense, but it remained unresolved at year's end. Several cases of extrajudicial killing from 1993 were resolved. In January a military court sentenced a lieutenant and four sergeants to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 12 years for torturing to death Chen Shih-Wei in July 1993 at a military reformatory on Green Island. In March the Taichung district court sentenced the deputy chief of Taichung city's third police precinct to 10 years in prison for the torture death of a rape suspect in August 1993; four other policemen were acquitted for lack of evidence. In October the Taipei Shihlin district court ruled that the death of Wang Kang-Lu, Secretary General of the World United Formosans for Independence, in an October 1993 Taipei car crash was an accident rather than a "political assassination" as charged by his family and supporters. The driver of the vehicle which struck the taxi in which Mr. Wang was riding and the taxi driver were both sentenced to prison, for 20 months and 8 months respectively, for negligence resulting in death. Also in October, the Taipei district court sentenced four wardens at the Taipei detention center to from 14 to 30 months in prison for torturing a homicide suspect in September 1993. Although the suspect later died, the judge ruled that the death resulted from a preexisting physical condition rather than from torture. b. Disappearance There were no reports of disappearances. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment There were credible reports that police occasionally physically abused persons in their custody. In addition to claims that a prisoner was beaten to death in Tainan (see Section l.a.), a deaf-mute university student indicated at a press conference in August that Taoyuan county police tortured him because he was a suspect in the murder of a female college student. The authorities did make efforts to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials responsible for torture and other mistreatment. Although the basic responsibility for investigating mistreatment lies with prosecutors, the Control Yuan (CY), an equal government branch which investigates official misconduct, investigated several such cases during the year. In one major case in August, the CY criticized the Taipei city police for arresting under "emergency procedures" three young men suspected of involvement in a 1988 kidnaping and murder case, holding them for arraignment for 24 hours without notifying their relatives and using violence and threats among other interrogation tactics. The CY impeached four Taipei city policemen for using "violence, threats, temptation, and cheating" while interrogating one of the suspects and three superior officers for allowing the misconduct. The case was referred to the Judicial Yuan (JY), the equal branch of government comprising the national judicial system, for decision and remained under review at year's end. While the 1993 torture death of a suspect in Taichung resulted in the conviction of the offending policeman (see Section l.a.), two other cases of police torture of suspects in 1993 remained under investigation without indictments being issued. However, progress was made in dealing with an earlier case. The Taichung district prosecutor indicted the former criminal investigation team leader from Taichung county's Fengyuan police subbureau for torturing four suspects in a 1990 murder case; the suspects were later found not guilty. In April the Judicial Yuan's Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries ordered the former chief of the subbureau suspended from duty for 1 year and the former chief of the subbureau's criminal investigation section discharged from public service without possibility of being rehired for 2 years for their failure to prevent the torture. The law allows suspects to have attorneys present during interrogations, primarily to ensure that abuse does not take place. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) claims that each interrogation is recorded and that all allegations of mistreatment are investigated. Lawyers and legal scholars note that abuses most often occur in local police stations where interrogations are not recorded and when attorneys are generally not present. Detainees who are physically abused have the right to sue the police for torture, and confessions obtained through torture are inadmissible in court proceedings. No such suits were reported during 1994. Although corporal punishment is forbidden under military law, there continued to be occasional reports of physical abuse of military personnel. In addition to the case involving possible excessive punishment resulting in a soldier's death in Kaohsiung (see Section l.a.), newspapers reported the cases of an air force member in Taichung beaten by superiors for going outside the unit's chain of command and a Taoyuan air force conscript who suffered maltreatment and harassment during training which resulted in his mental breakdown. Although the Ministry of National Defense denied the accuracy of both stories, it noted that a number of management steps had been taken to reduce the problem of abuse in the military, including setting up centers within all military units to hear complaints about mistreatment. Some international human rights organizations have criticized the continuous shackling for months of prisoners awaiting executions and the "harvesting" of organs from executed prisoners for transplants. MOJ officials claim that shackles are necessary because such prisoners are considered to be dangerous and the prisons are not sufficiently secure. The MOJ states that the requirement for both a prisoner and his family to consent to organ donations reduces the likelihood of donations being forced. Prison overcrowding at Taiwan's 43 detention centers remained a problem despite some expansion of existing facilities and amendment of the Criminal Code in January to allow prisoners to be paroled after serving one-third, rather than one-half, of their sentences. The more than 50,000 inmates in detention exceed the facilities' maximum capacity by 15,000. The Justice Minister blamed overcrowding for an October riot at Hualien prison which left 20 injured; the prison, reportedly designed for 1,151 inmates, houses 2,000. According to the MOJ, the number of prisoners has grown rapidly in recent years because of increased arrests of narcotics law violators who now make up 30 percent of the overall inmate population. The MOJ is setting up drug treatment facilities to reduce the number of addicts in the prison population. Conditions at detention camps for illegal immigrants continued to be poor. The Entry and Exit Bureau admitted that the three detention camps are overcrowded but blamed mainland Chinese authorities for delays in accepting the timely repatriation of illegal immigrants. Mainland detainees spent an average of 113 days in detention. An expansion project for the centers is under way. In July a group of 12 black inmates, almost all from African countries, at the San Hsia illegal aliens detention center claimed that 6 policemen had beaten and tortured a black inmate the previous month. They also charged the camp's police with racial discrimination and ill-treatment of the black inmates. The National Police Administration (NPA) claims there is no discrimination against any detainee because of religion, race, color, or language. d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile Police may legally arrest without a warrant anyone they suspect of committing a crime for which the punishment would be imprisonment of 5 years or more and may question persons without a formal summons. The authorities must, within 24 hours after detention, give written notice to the detainee, or a designated relative or friend, stating the reason for the arrest or questioning. Indicted persons may be released on bail at judicial discretion. The Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) specifies that the authorities may detain a suspect for up to 2 months during the investigative phase before filing a formal indictment. The prosecutor's office may extend the investigative detention for one additional 2-month period. A suspect may be held for up to 3 months during trial proceedings, and the court may extend the trial detention for two additional 3-month periods. The authorities generally have followed these procedures, and trials usually take place within 3 months of indictment. The authorities generally respect a detainee's request to have a lawyer present during the investigation phase, but defense lawyers continue to complain that people often are not advised of their right to have legal representation during police interrogation. In addition, there is no legal requirement that indigent people be provided with counsel during police interrogation, although such counsel is provided during trials. A continuing departure from international standards of due process is the secret witness system under the "Antihoodlum" Law. This system allows police to conduct "sweeps" of suspected "hoodlums" and use the testimony of unidentified informants in detaining the suspects. Lawyers for the alleged hoodlums are not permitted to cross-examine these informants. While defense attorneys have been given the right to examine documentary evidence, critics charge that evidence in these cases is often weak or fabricated. Although the testimony of the secret witnesses is included under the criminal statutes for perjury, critics claim that the detainees often lack the means to prove perjury. The Judicial Yuan (JY) claims that the secret witness system is required to wipe out hoodlums and maintain social order and security. The system is not used in normal criminal procedures; "antihoodlum" punishments are "administrative procedures." Based on evidence provided by the police, a specialized court determines whether or not an accused hoodlum should receive reformatory education. This decision may be appealed by the accused to a higher court. Courts may not determine the length of reformatory education; reformatory authorities make this decision based on the behavior of the detainee. The usual term is 3 to 6 months for a first offense, and detention of repeat offenders may be extended for up to 3 years. Critics say that these specialized courts simply rubber-stamp police decisions, and while virtually all detainees appeal their sentences, most remain unchanged. According to JY statistics, of the 1,763 hoodlum cases referred to the special courts in 1993, 73 percent (1,287) were determined to warrant reformatory education. e. Denial of Fair Public Trial The Judicial Yuan (JY) is one of the five equal branches of Taiwan's political system. It consists of a President, a Vice President, and a 16-member Council of Grand Justices. It interprets the Constitution as well as laws and ordinances. Subordinate JY organs include the Supreme Court, high courts, district courts, the Administrative Court, and the Committee on the Discipline of Public Functionaries. The Constitution provides for equality before the law. Judges, rather than juries, decide trials. All judges are appointed by, and responsible to, the JY. Although some in the past have characterized the judiciary as not fully independent and as susceptible to political and personal pressure, most observers believe the judiciary now is generally independent and impartial. The only public criticism in 1994 came from illegal radio station owner Hsu Jung-Chi who claimed his convictions for inciting illegal demonstrations were a form of political persecution (see Sections 2.a. and 2.b.). To strengthen judicial autonomy, under its new president, Shih Chi-yang, the JY began a 1-year trial reform program in November which includes having each district's presiding judge elected by the district judges rather than appointed from above. The law provides for the right of fair public trial, and this is generally respected in practice. Taiwan's legal system does not provide for trial by jury. In a typical court case, parties and witnesses are interrogated by a single judge but not directly by a defense attorney or prosecutor. The judge may decline to hear witnesses or to consider evidence a party wishes to submit if the judge considers it irrelevant; refusal to hear evidence can be a factor in an appeal. Trials are public, but attendance at trials involving juveniles or potentially sensitive issues which might attract crowds may require court permission. A defendant has the right to an attorney. If the defendant is suspected of committing a crime for which the penalty is 3 or more years' imprisonment, or if the defendant is disabled or elderly, the judge may assign an attorney. Criminal law specifically provides the defendant with protection from self-incrimination. Persons convicted in cases in which the sentence exceeds 3 years have the right to appeal to the high court and to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court automatically reviews life imprisonment and death sentences. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence The Constitution and sections of the criminal and civil codes contain provisions for privacy. The authorities generally do not make warrantless searches, which were common before the lifting of martial law. A warrant, issued by a prosecutor or a judge, must be obtained before a search, except when incidental to arrest. Critics, however, claim that the "incidental to arrest" provision is not only unconstitutional but often interpreted broadly by police to justify searches of locations other than actual sites of arrests. Moreover, police continue to search cars routinely at roadblocks. According to the National Police Administration, warrantless searches are allowed only in specialized circumstances, such as to arrest an escapee or if facts indicate a person is in the process of committing a crime and the circumstances are urgent. In any such case, the police must file a report with the prosecutor or court within 24 hours. Evidence collected without a warrant, according to regulations, is not excluded from introduction during a trial; however, a policeman who carries out an illegal search can be sued for illegal entry and sentenced up to 1 year's imprisonment. Although in the past allegations were made that police and security agencies interfere with the right to privacy through such means as surveillance and interception of correspondence and telephone calls, there were no reports of such interference for political purposes in 1994. According to EY regulations, judicial and security authorities may file a written request to a prosecutor's office to monitor telephone calls to collect evidence against a suspect involved in a major crime. Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The Constitution provides for freedom of speech, teaching, writing, and publication, but some restrictions exist in practice, especially in relation to Taiwan's electronic media. During the year, the authorities continued the measured steps, begun in 1993, to liberalize the previously tight control by the authorities and the KMT over broadcast television and radio. In August the Office of the High Court Prosecutor formally dropped sedition charges against Shih Ming, the last of the major dissident leaders, who had returned to Taiwan illegally in 1993 after more than 40 years' exile in Japan. The prosecutor determined that Mr. Shih had not tried to overthrow the Taiwan authorities with threats or violent acts (see also Section 2.d). The dropping of sedition charges against Mr. Shih officially confirmed the end of Taiwan's four-decade-long "wanted list" of sedition suspects. In 1992 the Taiwan authorities revised sedition statutes to eliminate provisions outlawing "conspiracy" to commit sedition and to limit the purview of the Sedition Law to cases involving violence or threats. After the revision, the authorities released all prisoners convicted on sedition charges and dropped pending sedition cases. Also in 1992, the Taiwan authorities revised the National Security Law (NSL), removing prohibitions on "actions against the Constitution." However, the NSL--and related statutes such as the Civic Organizations Law and the Parade and Assembly Law--still retain prohibitions against advocating communism or espousing the division of national territory. Taiwan has a vigorous and active free press despite the Publications Law which empowers the police to seize or ban printed material that is seditious, treasonous, sacrilegious, interferes with the lawful exercise of public functions, or violates public order or morals. There were no reports of censorship of the print media during the year. Nor were there seizures of materials on political grounds, although the police conducted raids to seize pornographic materials. In February the Government Information Office (GIO) reiterated that any publications imported from mainland China should be sent to the GIO Publications Department for screening before sale or publication in Taiwan. The GIO bans the importation of publications which advocate communism or United Front organizations, endanger public order or good morals, or violate regulations or laws. However, few local publishing companies observe this regulation. The Department estimated that 10,000 copies of mainland publications are imported annually. In a well-publicized libel case, four professors found guilty in 1993 for leading a boycott against a newspaper they alleged slanted its reporting in favor of mainland China and against Taiwan were successful in their appeal. In August the high court reversed the lower court verdict and affirmed the defendants right to criticize the media. The high court, however, rejected a libel suit filed by one of the defendants against the newspaper involved. The KMT, the Taiwan provincial government, and the military continue to operate the three island-wide broadcast television stations and to be their largest shareholders. The GIO claims that these stations are really civilian businesses since the authorities control less than half of their stock shares. The GIO notes that their programming is guided by the market rather than the GIO or the KMT and that they rely on revenues from commercials and services rather than public funds. Critics, notably the two principal opposition parties, claim that coverage on the three broadcast television stations has been slanted to favor the KMT viewpoint and that reports on sensitive subjects, such as opposition demonstrations, have been similarly biased. A breakthrough occurred in October when a leading newspaper and one of the television channels sponsored a live debate among the three Taipei mayoralty candidates--Taiwan's first televised debate among election candidates. More than three-fourths of Taiwan's radio frequencies have been held by the authorities, the KMT, and other noncommercial entities. In the past, the Taiwan authorities claimed only 12 of the 33 radio stations legally operating were owned by military and civil agencies, but they counted among ostensibly "private" stations such entities as the KMT-controlled Broadcasting Corporation of China. Past refusals by the authorities to approve requests to establish new radio and television stations led to the establishment of a number of illegal underground cable television and radio stations. Many of these stations broadcast in the Taiwanese dialect rather than in Mandarin and reflect the views of or support for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In 1993 the authorities began a multiyear process to loosen controls on television. The LY passed a Cable Television Law dividing the island into 51 districts, each of which is allowed up to five local cable television companies. By the end of 1993, more than 600 previously illegal cable television operations had registered with the GIO to legalize their operations under interim cable television regulations, which apply until the Cable Television Law takes full effect. The authorities are also setting up a new public television network to begin operation in 1995. In addition, two more broadcast television frequencies are being made available. Also in 1993, the GIO began a five-stage process to open radio frequencies. In the first two stages, the GIO approved licenses for 24 20-kilometer-range FM stations; included were 6 pro-DPP stations, 3 of which were already operating illegally. Critics charge that the limited broadcast ranges of the new television and radio stations do not constitute a counterweight to the authorities' monopoly on island-wide broadcasting. Some critics have also been concerned that the KMT, with its vast economic resources, or large corporations will try to control these new "investment arenas." The authorities' control of the media continued to be a volatile issue. On July 30, GIO staff members and 6,719 policemen raided 14 underground pro-DPP radio stations across the island for operating illegally; included was the antiestablishment "Voice of Taiwan" (VOT) in suburban Taipei. The underground radio supporters and the DPP claimed that the raids infringed on freedom of the press and the people's right to know, and were designed to muzzle the opposition on the eve of sensitive negotiations between Taiwan and mainland China as well as stifle debate prior to the December elections. In an August 1 demonstration in Taipei protesting the raids, hundreds of demonstrators attacked the GIO headquarters and other public and KMT buildings. More than 30 demonstrators and police were injured. Reporters and cameramen were targeted for attack by the demonstrators who feared being identified from news films. Twelve demonstrators were indicted for violations of the Parade and Assembly Law (see also Section 2.b.), interfering with public functions, and causing bodily harm; four were sentenced to from 3 to 5 months in prison (a sentence which may be converted to a fine). Charges against the others were dropped for lack of evidence. In a separate incident a few days later, a GIO staff member involved in the July 30 raids was stabbed and severely injured on his way to work. Four suspects were indicted in December upon completion of the investigation into the incident and face trial. The violence continued into October when six to eight persons broke into the VOT studios and used baseball bats to smash broadcasting equipment and beat staff members. The VOT claimed the attack was carried out by plainclothes policemen, a charge which was never substantiated. (###) In response, GIO Director General Jason Hu tried to encourage underground stations to become legal by announcing in August that the GIO would lower the minimum capitalization costs required for 99 new 5-kilometer-range community radio stations from approximately $2 million to $40,000 and accelerate the pace of the licensing process for these stations. In December the GIO approved 46 of 174 applications for the community radio stations, including 10 from already operating illegal stations. Among other restrictions regulating the media are those precluding people previously convicted of sedition from owning, managing, or working in television and radio stations. However, major opposition leaders, many of whom were convicted of sedition after the December 1979 Kaohsiung incident, are not affected because their rights were restored through presidential amnesties. The authorities lifted controls on the percentage of time television and radio stations could broadcast in dialects in 1993. Although the Taiwanese dialect is the mother tongue of most of the island's inhabitants, the authorities had previously required that 80 percent of broadcasting be in Mandarin. Broadcasting is now done in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka (television and radio), and aboriginal dialects (radio only). There appear to be few restrictions on academic freedom. The expression of dissenting political views is common. However, school authorities still sometimes pressure schoolteachers to discourage students from joining demonstrations. b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, but the Taiwan authorities restrict these rights somewhat in practice. The Civic Organization Law requires all civic organizations to register; however, the authorities have refused to approve registration of some groups--such as the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), the Taiwan Association of University Professors, and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Alliance--which use the word "Taiwan" in their titles (a usage which is regarded by the authorities as promoting Taiwan independence). These groups, however, continue to operate. The Parade and Assembly (P&A) Law permits peaceful demonstrations as long as they do not promote communism or advocate Taiwan's separation from mainland China and are approved in advance by the authorities. The 1992 amendments to the law increased penalties for violating orders to disperse. Demonstration organizers can be prosecuted and fined for harm to public order, interference with public functionaries (usually the police), assembly without a permit, or diverging from officially authorized routes. Demonstrators are also liable for "insults or slander" of the authorities. Critics question the need for all assemblies to apply for advance permits; in August, groups demonstrating peacefully at the LY were dispersed under P&A law provisions because they lacked permits. In general, the authorities disperse such gatherings rather than prosecute peaceful P&A Law violators. Those prosecuted under the P&A Law in 1994 included the group indicted for participating in the violent August 1 demonstration in Taipei (see Section 2.a.) and another 22 people indicted for participating in the brawling which prevented the Chinese New Party from holding a September 25 rally in Kaohsiung (see Section 3). In addition, VOT radio owner Hsu Jung-Chi was sentenced in October twice for violating the P&A law. He received 8 months' imprisonment for inciting a February demonstration by taxi drivers in front of the Ministry of Finance to protest the high cost of mandatory insurance and was sentenced to a further 5 months for inciting another demonstration in April to protest the razing of the KMT headquarters building. Hsu remains free on bail while appealing these sentences. Charges against Hsu are also pending for organizing the August 1 demonstration in Taipei. A 1992 revision of the Civic Organization Law removed from the EY the power to dissolve political parties. This power now resides in the Constitutional Court, composed of members of the Judiciary's Council of Grand Justices. Grounds for dissolution include objectives or actions which are deemed to jeopardize the existence of the "Republic of China." The Constitutional Court heard no cases in 1994. c. Freedom of Religion The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Taiwan authorities respect this right in practice. There is no established or favored religion. d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation The authorities do not restrict freedom of internal travel except for a few military and other restricted areas. Foreign travel by Taiwan passport holders resident on the island requires an exit permit. Nonresident Taiwan passport holders are usually issued "overseas Chinese" passports and require entry permits to travel to Taiwan. According to 1992 revisions to the National Security Law (NSL), entry permits may be refused only if there are facts sufficient to create a strong suspicion that a person is engaged in terrorism or violence. Reasons for entry and exit refusals must be given, and appeals may be made to a special board. No exit or entry permit refusals were reported during 1994. In 1993 new measures guaranteed that holders of Taiwan passports who normally reside abroad may return and regain their household registration, a document required for participation as a candidate in an election. In late 1993, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) announced that the "blacklist problem," the listing of overseas dissidents excluded from returning to Taiwan, no longer existed. However, a few foreign supporters of the Taiwan opposition claim that their entrance remains restricted. Although dissident leader Ming Shih (see Section 2.a.) returned to Japan, the Taipei district prosecutor's office indicted him in October on charges of violating the NSL and forgery because he had entered Taiwan with an altered passport. Charges involving illegal entry as well as document forgery were also still pending at the district court against independence activist George Chang. While the 1992 NSL amendments eased restrictions on the entry into Taiwan of persons from Taiwan who reside overseas, relatively tight restrictions on the entry of Chinese from the mainland remain in force. The Entry and Exit Bureau states the restrictions are required to maintain Taiwan's stability and prosperity (since Taiwan is an attractive destination for illegal immigration by mainland Chinese who can blend relatively easily into Taiwan society). Some 60,000 mainland Chinese visited Taiwan from November 1988 through the end of 1993; in the same period, 5.5 million trips were made by Taiwan residents to the mainland. Taiwan has no law under which noncitizens can ask for asylum. However, the authorities have been reluctant to return to the mainland those who might suffer political persecution there. In 1994 the authorities resettled abroad five detainees--including student activist Xu Lifang, who had entered Taiwan in 1991 on a counterfeit Salvadoran passport, as well as four others who had claimed in 1993 that they had left the mainland for political reasons. In general, however, Taiwan does deport to the mainland, under provisions of the Mainland Relations Act, those mainlanders who illegally enter the island. Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government In 1994 Taiwan made significant progress in its transition to a democratic, multiparty political system. An extraordinary session of the National Assembly (NA) passed constitutional amendments which require direct popular election of the President and the Vice President beginning in 1996. (The NA, which meets regularly only every 4 years, has authority over constitutional revisions.) Currently these two officials are elected by the NA. Other amendments established procedures to impeach or recall the President and Vice President and to allow overseas Chinese who return to Taiwan to vote in presidential elections. In early July, the Legislative Yuan (LY) passed legislation which allowed the direct popular election of the Governor of Taiwan province and the mayors of the two large cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung, all of whom had previously been appointed by the KMT. Other democratic advances were Taipei county's first use of a plebiscite to elicit voter opinion and its first recall campaign, both of which arose out of a campaign by the Environmental Protection Alliance against a proposal to build a fourth nuclear power plant in the county. Elections for the NA in 1991 and the LY in 1992 allowed voters to choose directly the full membership of these central legislative institutions for the first time since the 1940's. The December gubernatorial and mayoral elections were generally free and fair and were vigorously contested. Over 75 percent of eligible voters participated. However, allegations of vote-buying and some campaign violence marred the elections. The KMT won the first election ever held for governor of Taiwan province as well as the first election since 1979 for mayor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city. The DPP won the first election since 1964 for mayor of Taipei, a race in which the Chinese New Party (CNP), a breakaway KMT faction, came in second. While there are now over 70 (mostly very small) political parties functioning in Taiwan, only 3 of them hold real power: the Nationalist Party (KMT), the DPP, and the CNP. The KMT, although much reduced in size from the days when it was the only significant party, is still, with 2 million members, by far the largest. It also benefits from its domination of the broadcast media, from ownership of enterprises and business holdings estimated to be worth in excess of $6 billion, and from the fact that its members still hold most key positions in the authorities, sometimes concurrently with important party positions. The DPP, established in 1986 even before additional political parties were legalized, remains the main opposition party; it has one-third of the members in the LY (50 of 153 at year's end), holds 7 (of 23) mayor and magistrate posts--including the mayor of Taipei, and has an estimated 70,000 members. The CNP, established in 1993 by younger KMT members who opposed the KMT's domination by the "mainstream" supporters of Chairman Lee, holds seven LY seats and claims 44,000 members. The CNP demonstrated its strength in northern Taiwan by winning 11 of the 52 seats on the Taipei municipal council during the December election. The DPP and CNP, supported at times by the five independent legislators, played a major role in the LY despite the KMT's majority. During the LY's second session, beginning in September, for example, the KMT lost its traditional majorities on the foreign affairs, national defense, and education committees, giving its political opponents an increased voice in legislative debates on these issues. Following March elections for city and county council speakers and deputy speakers, Justice Minister Ma Ying-Jeou, supported by President Lee Teng-Hui, led a widespread crackdown on election bribery. More than 330 of the 883 council members who had been elected in January, along with 131 others were indicted as a result of this investigation. The overwhelming majority of these were KMT members. Of those indicted, more than 280 received sentences ranging from a few months to more than 7 years in prison; the council members remain in office, however, pending appeals of their sentences to the high court. The Constitution provides for equal rights for women, but their role in politics, while increasing, remains limited. Nevertheless, a number of women hold senior positions in the Government and the KMT, including Minister without Portfolio and KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC) member Shirley Kuo (a former finance minister), KMT Deputy Secretary General and former CSC member Jeanne Tchong-Kwei Li, the Director General of the National Health Administration, and one major general in the armed forces. In addition, 15 of 153 LY members, 42 of 325 NA members, 13 of 77 provincial assembly members, 3 of 29 Control Yuan members, and 205 of 1,221 judges are women. Aborigine representatives participate in most levels of the political system, partially through six reserved seats in the national and legislative assemblies and two seats in the provincial assembly--half of each elected by the Plains Aborigines and half by Mountain Aborigines. Other appointed officials who are Aborigines include the chief of the Ministry of Interior's Aborigine Affairs Section, the deputy director of the provincial Aborigine Affairs Bureau, and the chairman of the Pingtung county KMT Committee. In addition, the elected magistrate of Taitung county is an aborigine. Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights The principal human rights organizations are the establishment-oriented Chinese Association of Human Rights (CAHR) and the opposition-aligned Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR). Coordination between the two bodies is limited. Despite the authorities' refusal to register it (see Section 2.b.), TAHR continues to operate. Both organizations investigate human rights complaints, many of which come to public attention through the media and statements by lawmakers from all political parties. The authorities permit representatives of international human rights organizations to visit Taiwan and meet citizens freely. Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status The Constitution provides for equality of citizens before the law "irrespective of sex, religion, race, class, or party affiliation." Other laws guarantee the rights of disabled persons. While the authorities are committed to protecting these rights, some areas of discrimination continue to exist. Women The law prohibits sex discrimination, and many discriminatory sections of the Legal Code relating to divorce, property, and child custody have been eliminated in recent years. In September the Council of Grand Justices (CGJ) declared unconstitutional a Civil Code provision dating back to the 1930's which gives fathers priority in child custody disputes. However, the CGJ ruling invalidating this provision does not take effect for 2 years. Taiwan does not have an equal employment rights law, and enforcement of existing sex discrimination laws remains a problem. Labor laws provide for maternity leave, but employers do not always grant it. Women have also complained of being forced to quit jobs upon marriage or because of age or pregnancy. Women often complain of less frequent promotions and lower salaries than their male counterparts. Domestic violence, especially wife beating, is a serious problem. According to a survey by the Taiwan provincial Social Affairs Department in March, 17.8 percent of married women have been beaten by their husbands. The DPP Women's Development Committee said other statistics showed 35 percent of married women were victims of spouse abuse. The issue was highlighted by the conviction in February of Teng Ju-Wen, who was sentenced by the district court to 5 1/2 years in prison for murdering her husband, despite her claim to have been a victim of her husband's abuse for many years; her sentence was later reduced to 3 1/2 years on appeal. According to Taiwan laws, a prosecutor may not investigate domestic violence cases until a spouse files a formal lawsuit. Although some cases are prosecuted, strong social pressure discourages abused women from reporting incidents to the police in order to avoid disgracing their families. Rape also remains a serious problem, and its victims are socially stigmatized. One expert believes that only 10 percent of the estimated 7,000 rapes occurring annually are reported to the police. Under Taiwan law, the authorities may not prosecute for rape; only the victim may file a complaint. The Criminal Code establishes the punishment for rape as not less than 5 years' imprisonment, and those convicted are usually sentenced to from 5 to 10 years in prison. The standard practice followed by the MOJ is to assign female prosecutors to rape cases and to have the cases heard before female judges. Because rape trials are public, women have been reluctant to prosecute their attackers--although support from feminist and social welfare organizations has made victims more willing to come forward and press charges. In a May demonstration in Taipei, 1,000 people demanded better legislation to prevent sex-related crimes and called on the Minister of Education to resign for failure to handle sexual harassment and rape cases on college campuses. In April a group of Taiwan women married to foreigners held a press conference to claim discrimination because their husbands are not given residence or working rights in Taiwan and their children are not allowed to enter public schools. After the issue was raised, the authorities announced that foreign husbands would be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 6 months at a time rather than being given residence permits for shorter periods. The authorities noted that special registration permits are available to allow the children of Taiwan women with foreign husbands to attend public schools. Officials note, however, that some of these regulations will continue to exist until nationality laws are amended. Prostitution, including coerced prostitution and child prostitution (see below), is also a problem in Taiwan although there is little public attention to the adult prostitution issue. When the police discover illegal prostitution, the cases are prosecuted according to the Criminal Code. However, the authorities do accept the existence of registered houses of prostitution, especially in urban areas including Taipei and Kaohsiung. Children The Constitution has provisions to protect children's rights, and the authorities are committed to support them. Education for children between 6 and 15 years of age is compulsory and enforced. The Constitution provides that spending on education shall be no less than 15 percent of the central budget, 25 percent of the provincial and special municipality budgets, and 35 percent of the county and city budgets. Child prostitution is a serious problem involving between 40,000 and 60,000 children, an estimated 20 percent of them aboriginal children (see Indigenous People section below). Most child prostitutes range from 12 through 16 years of age. The Juvenile Welfare Law enables juvenile welfare bodies, prosecutors, and victims to apply to courts for termination of guardianship of parents and the appointment of qualified guardians if parents have forced their children into prostitution. If children are engaged in prostitution of their own free will, and the parents are incapable of providing safe custody, the courts may order competent authorities to provide counseling education for not less than 6 months and not more than 2 years. However, legal loopholes and cultural barriers remain obstacles to prosecution. For example, if both parents have sold a child into prostitution, the current law requires the victim to lodge a complaint before prosecution is undertaken. In many cases, the child is reluctant or afraid to do so. According to some reports, violence, drug addiction, and other forms of coercion are used by brothel owners to prevent girls from escaping. In addition, laws directed against customers and pimps of child prostitutes are weak. Child abuse is also a significant problem. The Chinese Child Welfare Foundation reported in July that 2,080 child abuse cases occurred in Taiwan from June 1993 through July 1994--an increase of 245 from the previous year; the Foundation said that 80 percent of the abuse came from children's divorced parents. The 1993 revision of the Child Welfare Act mandates that any persons discovering cases of child abuse or neglect must notify the police, social welfare, or child welfare authorities, that child welfare specialists must do so within 24 hours, and that the authorities involved must issue an investigation report within 24 hours. Both the MOI Social Affairs Department and private organization specialists assert that these requirements are being followed. Indigenous People Taiwan's only non-Chinese minority group consists of the aboriginal descendants of Malayo-Polynesians already established in Taiwan when the first Chinese settlers arrived. The ethnic identification of these indigenous people was clarified in July as the NA passed a constitutional amendment officially changing their name from "mountain people" to "Aborigines." According to Ministry of Interior statistics, there were 357,000 Aborigines in Taiwan in 1993. More than 70 percent are Christian. In general, the civil and political rights of aborigines are fully protected under law. The NA amended the Constitution in 1992 to upgrade the status of Aboriginal people, protect their right of political participation, and ensure cultural, educational, and business development. In addition, the authorities have instituted social programs to help them assimilate into the dominant Chinese society. As part of its efforts to preserve ethnic identities, the Ministry of Education now includes some Aboriginal-language classes in primary schools. Although they face no official discrimination, the Aborigines have had little impact over the years on major decisions affecting their lands, culture, traditions, and the allocation of their national resources. In addition, they complain they are prevented from owning ancestral lands in mountain areas under the authorities' control, some of which have been designated as national parks. A group held a demonstration at Taiwan's major tourist site, Taroko Gorge, in October to demand they be allowed to hunt and raise crops on ancestral lands even if those lands are now within national parks. Aborigines claim also that they face significant cultural and economic barriers. The average income of Taiwan's Aborigines remains less than half of the national average. According to MOI statistics, only 52 percent receive elementary educations. Researchers have found alcoholism to be a significant problem among the Aborigines, with alcohol addiction rates exceeding 40 percent among members of three of the nine major tribes. Aborigines are not allowed to use non-Chinese personal names on legal documents. The sale of Aboriginal girls by their parents into prostitution is a serious social problem (see Children section above). The authorities have targeted 30 aboriginal villages for visits by social workers, provision of allowances, and vocational training to reduce the child prostitution problem. While the results of this particular program are not yet available, the MOI Social Affairs Department points out that the police discovered fewer cases of child prostitution in 1994 than in 1993, indicating a possible reduction in the problem. People with Disabilities The Disabled Welfare Law was revised and strengthened in 1990. It prohibits discrimination against the disabled and sets minimum fines at approximately $2,400 for violators. New public buildings, facilities, and transportation equipment must be accessible to the handicapped. Existing public buildings are to be brought into conformity by 1995. The MOI changed its official statistics in 1994 to show more than 280,000 disabled people in Taiwan rather than the 230,000 it recognized in 1993. A leading expert in the field, however, noted that, although the statistics have changed, the actual number of disabled is far larger than 280,000. The true figure is probably between 400,000 and 500,000--possibly as high as 700,000. One-third of the disabled are severely handicapped and receive shelter or nursing care from the authorities. The Disabled Welfare Law requires large government and private organizations to hire disabled persons, 2 and 1 percent of their work forces respectively. Organizations failing to do so must pay, for each disabled person not hired, the basic monthly salary (approximately $540) into the Disabled Welfare Fund, which supports institutions involved in welfare for the disabled. However, many organizations complain that it is difficult to find qualified disabled workers and appear to prefer to pay the fines involved. The authorities have noted the impact of a traditional belief that the disabled lack the ability to do real work. Section 6 Worker Rights a. The Right of Association A number of laws and regulations limit the right of association. Labor unions may draw up their own rules and constitutions, but they must submit these to the authorities for review. Unions may be dissolved if they do not meet certification requirements or if their activities disturb public order. According to the authorities, no unions have been dissolved, although certification of new unions was denied in several cases during 1994 because competing unions were already in existence. The Labor Union Law prohibits civil servants, teachers, and defense industry workers from organizing and bars administrative staff who act on behalf of employers from joining labor unions. The Labor Union Law requires that union leaders be elected regularly by secret ballot, and, in recent years, workers have sometimes rejected KMT or management-endorsed union slates. Some workers have established independent unions and federations under other names, such as "friendship organizations" and "brotherhood alliances." These groups may register with the MOI as legal civic organizations but not as labor unions; thus they are not protected by the Labor Union Law and do not have the right to bargain with their members' employers. Unions may form confederations, but no administrative district, including a city, county, or province, can have competing labor confederations; therefore there is only one Taiwan-wide labor federation: the Chinese Federation of Labor (CFL). The CFL is closely associated with the KMT. A standing member of the CFL's board of directors is a member of the KMT's Central Standing Committee. The restriction on island-wide unions was challenged, however, in September when 12 unions from state-run enterprises announced they would withdraw from the CFL and establish a new national federation of labor unions of state-run enterprises. Of the CFL's 2.9 million members, more than 300,000 work at state-run enterprises. The drive for independent labor unions lost momentum in recent years due to generally higher wages, tougher tactics on the part of employers, the small scale and poor organization of most unions, and prosecution of labor activists by the authorities in the past. No labor activists were charged during 1994. Taiwan is not a member of the International Labor Organization. The CFL is affiliated with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively Except for the categories of workers noted in Section 6.a. above, the Labor Union Law and the Settlement of Labor Disputes Law give workers the right to organize and bargain collectively. As of June, some 3.3 million workers, approximately 35 percent of Taiwan's 9-million labor force, belonged to 3,654 registered labor unions. Under the Labor Union Law, employers may not refuse employment to, dismiss, or otherwise unfairly treat workers because they are union members. In practice, however, union leaders have sometimes been dismissed without reasonable cause by employers, and observers point out that the law sets no specific penalties for violations. According to the National Federation of Independent Trade Unionists, about 400 trade unionists and supporters have been fired since Taiwan's labor movement began to expand after the 1987 lifting of martial law. Some observers believe that the firing of seven Evergreen Heavy Industries union leaders in August was in fact due to their union activities. The Collective Agreements Law provides for collective bargaining but does not make it mandatory. Since such agreements are made only in large-scale enterprises, and less than 5 percent of Taiwan's enterprises fall into this category, the proportion of workers covered remains small. Employers set wages generally in accordance with market conditions. The law governing labor disputes recognizes the right of unions to strike but imposes restrictions that make legal strikes difficult and seriously weaken collective bargaining. For example, the authorities require involuntary mediation of labor/management disputes when they deem the disputes to be sufficiently serious or to involve "unfair practices." The law forbids both labor and management from disrupting the "working order" when either mediation or arbitration is in progress. The law mandates stiff penalties for violations of no-strike/no-retaliation clauses, but employers have sometimes ignored the law and dismissed or locked out workers without any legal action being taken against them. According to a January press report, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said that from 1990 to September 1993, there were 30 strikes, of which 22 involved workers at bus companies asking for increased pay and reduced hours. (The CLA carries out the functions of a labor ministry but lacks cabinet rank.) Firms in export processing zones are subject to the same laws regarding treatment of labor unions as other firms and follow normal practices in concluding collective bargaining agreements with their unions. c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor The Labor Standards Law prohibits forced or compulsory labor. There have been no reports of these practices. d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children The Labor Standards Law stipulates age 15, after compulsory education required by law ends, as the minimum age for employment. As a result, child labor remains at a very low level. County and city labor bureaus enforce minimum age laws. As of October, 11,915 workers between the ages of 15 and 16 were employed by manufacturing industries. e. Acceptable Conditions of Work The Taiwan Labor Standards Law (LSL) mandates labor standards. According to the CLA, in May the law covered 3.54 million of Taiwan's 6.1 million salaried workers. The law is not well enforced in areas such as overtime work and pay or retirement payments. The law limits the workweek to 48 hours (8 hours per day, 6 days per week) and requires 1 day off in every 7 days. As of August, the minimum wage was set at approximately $540 (NT 14,010) per month. This is less than that needed to assure a decent standard of living for a worker and his family. However, the average manufacturing wage is more than double the legal minimum wage, and the average for service industry employees is even higher. The 1991 revised Occupational Safety and Health Law enlarged coverage to include workers in agriculture, fishing, and forestry industries and appeared to strengthen penalties for safety violations; however, it still provides only minimal standards for working conditions and health and safety precautions. Article 13 of the Occupational Safety and Health Law gives workers the right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations without jeopardy to continued employment. Some critics see the law as a step backward; they note, for example, that general contractors are not responsible for the safety of those working for subcontractors under the revised law. The 1993 Labor Inspection Law was designed to strengthen the enforcement of labor standards and health and safety regulations. It increased the number of enterprises and types of safety issues to be inspected; gave inspectors quasi-judicial rights; required preexamination of dangerous working places such as naphtha cracking plants, pesticide factories, and firecracker factories; and raised penalties for violations. Critics say, however, that the CLA does not effectively enforce workplace laws and regulations because it employs too few inspectors. In 1994 there were fewer than 300 inspectors for the approximately 300,000 enterprises covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Law. Because the new law expanded coverage to include more enterprises, the inspection rate actually declined. Since most enterprises are small, family-owned operations employing relatives who will not report violations, actual adherence to the hours, wage, and safety sections of various labor laws is hard to document but is thought to be minimal in the smaller enterprises. Because of Taiwan's acute labor shortage, there has been a legal influx of foreign workers in the last several years. The law stipulates that foreign workers who are employed legally receive the same protection as local workers. However, authorities say that in many cases illegal foreign workers are given board and lodging but no medical coverage, accident insurance, or other benefits enjoyed by individuals from Taiwan. In addition, critics say that conditions in many small and medium-sized factories which employ illegal labor are dangerous, due to old and poorly maintained equipment. Illegal workers remain vulnerable to exploitation, including confiscation of passports, imposition of involuntary deductions from wages, and extension of working hours without overtime pay. In October a Council of Agriculture survey showed that 75 percent of boat owners admitted to hiring illegal mainland Chinese seamen to work on fishing boats. Because of Taiwan restrictions on the entry of mainlanders (see Section 2.d.), the mainland fishermen were generally poorly housed on "floating hotels" located 12 nautical miles offshore, outside Taiwan's jurisdiction; 90 percent of the owners called conditions on these floating hotels inhumane. The plight of these workers was highlighted in July when one of several floating hotels was caught in the first typhoon of the season and sank, drowning 10 mainland workers and one from Taiwan.
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