Ma Ying-jeou's Police State? A Follow Up on the 5/17 Protest "Accident"

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Sunday May 24, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Imagine that you are speeding along at 80 km per hour on a city street where the speed limit is around 30 to 40 km per hour. Imagine further that two elderly gentlemen in their sixties slowly cross the street in front of you. They are from a protest that you have been monitoring. You may be annoyed at them because of that and you may further be annoyed at them because you know your boss wants to create the fa蓷de that everyone in Taiwan is happy. You do not slow down or even apply the brakes. You hit both of them throwing one up in the air so that he breaks the windshield on your car in his fall. Both of them end up in the hospital. One may die; the other has a broken hip and must have his leg amputated. Police responsibility under Ma Ying-jeou? Read on.

The first thing after the accident, you don't call an ambulance to help the old men; you don't call 119, Taiwan's emergency number, you call your buddies and ask what you should do. You are worried about the proper spin that is needed. Is this the action of a responsible citizen let alone a responsible police officer? Should you expect to be charged with man-slaughter? Should you expect to do time in jail? Or would you just get a demerit? Soak this in and you will begin to get the atmosphere and reality of the growing police state that Ma Ying-jeou is fostering in Taiwan despite his hypocritical claims to the opposite.

This is what happened in Taipei after the anti-government protests on May 17th. The police, the pan-blue media and government even tried to focus the main blame and fault on the old men because they were supposedly jay-walking. As for the two policemen in the car that ran them down, all they got was a demerit each. There is even the suspicion that the younger of the two officers was asked to take the blame for being the driver in place of the older supposedly more-experienced officer. Think Taiwan, if you or any other Taiwanese had been driving the car at that speed and did not attempt to brake, would you have simply gotten a demerit?

Fresh in the people's mind in Taipei is how during the visit of Chen Yunlin, the officer in charge violated human rights in the shut-down of the Sunrise Record Store. He was given a reprimand for a week and then was promoted. A one week reprimand and then promotion?? Why did the Government Information Office (GIO) only mention the reprimand in its report? The officers on that occasion supposedly did not want the representative from China to possibly hear the Taiwanese songs that were being played over a half a block away from where he was having tea with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) bigwigs in a hotel. As if the representative from China could recognize a Taiwanese song if he heard it?

Also fresh in the people's minds were the police driving the protesting Wild Strawberry students out of Democracy Square. Their justification and excuse was an anonymous call complaining of the noise over a half a mile from any residency. Fresh in the people's minds was the police going to the Pingtung home of a Tamkang University student name Chen and asking if he took part in protest demonstrations against the president. The student's apparent crime was that he was interested in current affairs. The police claimed they were acting on what later turned out to be an anonymous "false tip." They were interested in future safety of Taiwan's image under Ma I guess.

Or shall we look at the student protesters beaten up by "temple guards" in front of the police. Ironically it was the students who were hauled into the police station and questioned. Those doing the beatings were ignored. Wake up Taiwan, wake up world! Think of these and more when the "phony pony" says all is well. And when you cross the street, make sure there are no police cars coming.