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June 23, 2017

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Taiwan not ready to abolish capital punishment: DPP head

TAIPEI--The abolition of capital punishment is a global trend, but Taiwan is not ready to embrace that change, Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Sunday.

Abolishing the death penalty requires many other conditions, including legal revisions and education, Su told reporters when asked about his view on the issue two days after six death row inmates were executed, drawing domestic and international condemnation.

The conditions needed to support the move, however, are far from being met in Taiwan, he said.

Ending the death penalty also requires a strong consensus among the public, which is lacking in Taiwan, he added.

A July opinion poll conducted by the government showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents were against abolishing the death penalty, a level that has remained fairly consistent for the past 15 years, according to multiple surveys.

Yet that has not stopped the DPP from opposing the death penalty in the past. The last DPP administration under President Chen Shui-bian informally suspended executions from December 2005 to May 2008, the final two and a half years of its time in power.

The hiatus ended in 2010, two years into the Kuomintang's return to power, when four inmates were put to death. Five more individuals were executed the following year.

Meanwhile, Su was also asked about the controversial Miramar Resort project at a beach in Taitung County, which received conditional approval of its environmental impact assessment Saturday.

Describing the "conditional approval" as far off public expectations, Su said the country does not have a shortage of cement hotels but does lack beautiful beaches.

If Taiwan "has build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects both in the mountains and near coasts," the country will lose its name of "Formosa," which means beautiful island, and the natural resources Taiwanese people take pride in, he warned.

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