U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Taiwan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Taiwan, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa5818.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
TAIWANWith the popular election of President Lee Teng-hui in 1996, Taiwan completed its transition to an open, democratic system. Lee, who is also the Chairman of the Nationalist Party (KMT), appoints the Premier, who heads the Executive Yuan (EY), or cabinet. Constitutional amendments adopted in July provided the Legislative Yuan (LY) with the authority to bring down the Cabinet with a no confidence vote and removed the previous power of the LY to confirm the appointment of the Premier. The current LY members were elected in a free and fair election in 1995. While the ruling KMT remains the single most powerful political force, it now holds only a razor-thin majority in the LY, where two opposition parties play increasingly significant roles. The Judicial Yuan (JY) is constitutionally independent of the other branches of the political system, but corruption and political influence remain serious problems. The National Police Administration (NPA) of the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the NPA's Criminal Investigation Bureau, and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Investigation Bureau are responsible for law enforcement relating to internal security. The police and security agencies are under effective civilian control. Some members of the police occasionally committed human rights abuses. Taiwan has a dynamic, export-oriented, free-market economy. Liberalization of the economy has undercut the dominant role that state-owned and party-run enterprises had played in such major sectors as finance, transportation, utilities, shipbuilding, steel, telecommunications, and petrochemicals. As the economy has evolved, services and capital- and technology-intensive industries have become the most important sectors. Major exports include computers, electronic equipment, machinery, and textiles. Citizens generally enjoy a high standard of living and an equitable income distribution. The authorities generally respect human rights; however, occasional problems remain in some areas. Principal problems include police abuse of detainees; physical abuse of military inductees, which appears to be declining; prison overcrowding; political and personal pressures on the judiciary; some restrictions on freedom of assembly and association; discrimination and violence against women; child prostitution and abuse; restrictions on workers' freedom of association and on their ability to strike. The authorities are also increasingly resorting to use of the libel law, apparently to deter criticism of senior leaders.