Taiwan and the Freedom of Speech Principle

According the yesterday’s Taipei Times, insulting remarks about Taiwanese and Taiwan were published at several occasions in Canada (and elsewhere?).

Some examples:


…(Taiwanese are referred) as “rednecks” or Japanese pirates…

…“[China] should spend many years suppressing [people in Taiwan] instead of granting any political freedom [to them] once it has taken Taiwan by force,”…

…“the imposition of martial law (in Taiwan) had been a benevolent act of the then government”…

“the Maokong Gondola is problematic because it was sabotaged by Taiwanese independence [activists].”

Those remarks are not only insulting but also (for the gondola) totally false. Facts are facts and the gondola problems only came from a poor technical and environmental evaluation as everyone agrees here.

Anyway, we could think that people should benefit from the freedom of speech (if it doesn’t involve libeling and insulting). And I do believe in that principle.

But, it turned out that the author (or one of the authors?) of the above remarks is, according the newspaper, Kuo Kuan-ying, director of the information division at Taiwan’s representative office in Toronto.

Yes, an employee of the central administration of Taiwan…

When the Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Su Jun-pin was approached in view to look into the matter he answered according the newspaper, that the author will not be punished because the “freedom of speech (principle)”.

It seems for me that the definition of this freedom is quite “flexible” since a while in Taiwan.

When people were shouting to the former president “step down”, no problem (anyway even for me, I don’t see any problem in that).

But if a 17 years-old kid shout the same sentence to the actual president, he is brought to the police station…

And now, if civil servants are libeling, insulting and denigrating facts, it is considered as been covered by the freedom of speech principle.

I did not know that a democratic country could have a so flexible definition.

But maybe I am wrong somewhere?


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3 Responses

  1. from what i can see, anything good for them is right and should be protected
    anything bad for them is wrong and should be punished
    shouting “step down” or even insulting the former “fake” president, which is good for them, is right, and therefore should be protected
    shouting step down to the “real” president is bad for them and therefore should be corrected (so they had to talk to the high school student and “correct” his thought: don’t get involved with politics. just focus on your study.)

    see? sound and clear 😉

    yes it should not be like this in “a democratic country”. But for them, Taiwan is NOT a country and not to mention democracy.
    that’s what we are fighting for. fact.

  2. Yes, Jo… Fact 😉

  3. […] and the GIO’s Game Posted on March 22, 2009 by fvarga I posted almost 10 days ago about the civil servant (M. Kuo) working for the Taiwan Government Information Office in Toronto, […]

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