Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The context for Ma’s death threats

There is not an ounce of doubt that in any respectable society, freedom of expression ends at the shore of hate speech or incitement of violence. While freedom of expression is a precious resource that, even to this day, is still denied to far too many people around the world, the liberties that it confers upon people should not be exploited in a manner that undermines the very foundations of freedom.

In this light, recent comments posted by netizens calling for the assassination of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his daughters, as well as Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶), deserve full condemnation and should be investigated in full. Decades ago, Taiwan shed its violent past — true, one in which the state visited violence upon its people — and it would be most unfortunate if such practices became the norm once again.

That said, attempts on Monday by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) to portray the assassination threats as the result of “perennial ethnic tensions” incited by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) completely miss the mark and negate the context in which the threats were made.

This op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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