14 Nov 2008

Ma: Two Officials Must Reflect, Not Step Down

By Wang Yu Chung, Peng Hsien Jun, Huang Duen Yien

Published: 11/13/2008 The Liberty Times

President Ma Ying-jeou responded officially for the first time yesterday to the Wild Strawberry Movement's demand that the National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun and National Security Bureau Director Tsai Chao-ming step down. Ma said that their actions warrant an evaluation, but "do not warrant dismissals."

As for the students’ demand that President Ma and Premier Liu apologize for excessive law enforcement tactics used during the Chinese envoy’s visit, Ma pointed out that one must look at the larger picture. The agreements signed between the two sides and the atmosphere created laid the foundation for improved cross-straight relations and will be beneficial to Taiwan's international standing.

Ma indicated that police enforcement may have caused some unintentional injuries, citing a TV reporter’s case as an example. Minister of Interior Liao Liou-yi has apologized on several occasions and will assess law enforcement tactics. That said, recent police activities in maintaining public safety should be considered as a success.

The National Police Agency mentioned that accusations made by the Wild Strawberries Movement were turned over to the Taipei City Police Department Bureau for further investigation.

With regard to the student’s appeal to amend the Parade and Assembly Law from its current approval and permission requirement to allowing citizens to simply inform authorities of assembly plans is consistent with his position. He appreciates the students’ assistance in helping him realize his campaign promises.

However, Ma pointed out that recent polls indicated that there are varying opinions on amending the legislation as a result of the violence and bloody scenes from the November 6th rally. Changing the system does not imply that individuals may simply call the police immediately before staging demonstrations. For instance, Germany allows its citizens to inform authorities of demonstration plans ahead of time, but law enforcement reserves the right to reject such plans. Ma emphasized that a permit system may not necessarily be restrictive, while system of informing authorities may not be lax. The key issue is not about whether to inform authorities, but about violent activities.

Kuomintang’s Central Standing Committee also discussed revising the legislation. Party Chairman Wu Po-hsiung specifically called on the Democratic Progressive Party to dissociate itself with corruption and violence.

Furthermore, some KMT Central Standing Committee members proposed a visit to Liu Po-yen, a self-professed old KMT member who committed self-immolation two days ago. The KMT stated that Liu did not register in 2000 and is no longer a party member. He has switched political alignment [from pro-Blue to pro-Green] and has been consuming more DPP-friendly media content, making an official visit from the KMT unnecessary.

Translated from http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2008/new/nov/13/today-p2.htm

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