Hate crime should not be tolerated anywhere
TAIPEI — A viral video on a woman insulting veterans and asking them to go back to China prompted some soul-searching over the place of anti-hate crime law in the Taiwanese society.
An incident that happened in Taiwan recently has brought up the issue of whether a law against hate crime should be passed immediately.
A woman in Kaohsiung posted several pieces of footage on social networks of herself insulting veterans and asking them to leave Taiwan and go back to China since they have made little contribution here and are wasting Taiwan’s money.
The discriminatory footage drew criticism from the public, and the woman at the center of the scandal was identified through the internet. Netizens discovered that she vented her displeasure against veterans or Waishenren, the people and their descendants who followed Chiang Kai-shek when he retreated from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949, not only by posting insulting videos but also in an elementary school as a teaching assistant.
As the footage went viral, the rage of the public grew stronger. Politicians from different parties have condemned the discriminatory behavior. Even President Tsai Ing-wen announced on her Facebook page that racial discrimination should not be tolerated in Taiwan.
Even though the president has spoken, a Bill proposed by the Kuomintang (KMT) to tackle discrimination was not welcomed by the ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
DPP said if the Bill by KMT were passed, transformational justice, a Bill that the DPP proposed to declassify documents on alleged “wrongdoings” committed by the KMT during the White Terror incident, should be passed at the same time.
Calculation in Politics
It is conceivable that a bill against hate crime like this will fall by the wayside in the partisan mudslinging between the DPP and KMT. The footage of racial discrimination will still be uploaded to the internet and will divide our society since the law will do nothing about it.
In a normal country, this kind of hate crime speech would be punished to prevent it from tearing the country apart. Schools would teach children that it is not right to have a bias against certain people just because of where they were born and what kind of religion and political system they have chosen to believe in.
Words against certain groups of people in a society ought to be monitored carefully by the authorities and fair warnings and psychological counseling ought to be given to the people who spread this kind of speech.
Hate crimes should never be tolerated in a democratic society because it can help some parties to win more votes in elections. No political party should take advantage of populism and allow attacks on helpless minorities. Any political party that disregards the well-being of society and tolerates hate crime in the hope of benefiting itself should be discarded by the people.
Hate crime vs. freedom of the speech
Some people have argued that if this Bill, or something similar, is passed, it will harm freedom of speech. We should always remember that freedom of speech does not tolerate bullying of any kind, whether on the internet or in the real world. Freedom of speech does not allow words that pose a clear and present danger to society either, especially when they are tearing our country apart piece by piece.
We should take hate speech seriously as a form of crime; politicians’ condemnation alone is not good enough. Look at what the DPP did after the president spoke. It must be stipulated in law that people who use discriminatory words against certain groups of people in society will be punished. Only by doing so can we put aside our differences and walk toward a more harmonious society.
Rain Walker is a freelance writer and this is a contributed piece appearing on the Asia News Network.
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