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May 30, 2017

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Sit-down protest calls for more severe penalties for child abuse

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A crowd of hundreds occupied the Judicial Yuan entrance yesterday to call for a stiffer penalty in a fatal case of child abuse.

Earlier this week, the High Court reduced the sentence for Liu Chin-lung (劉金龍), who abused 2-year-old Wang Hao (王昊) to death in 2012. Citing new evidence, the High Court changed Liu's charge from homicide to bodily injury resulting in death, and commuted his initial capital sentence to 30 years behind bars.

The boy's aunt, Wang Wei-chun (王薇君) joined Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) of the Kuomintang and a crowd of hundreds to stage a sit-down protest at the Judicial Yuan yesterday.

They pleaded for a stiffer sentence to safeguard the rights of Taiwan's children, according to Wang Wei-chun.

Dressed in black mourning clothes, Wang said that the High Court judges who handled the appeal are lacking in empathy. "The human heart is warm, the public's heart is warm — yet the government's heart is cold," she said.

Wang said that when her nephew's case first headed to court, she had not hired an attorney because she trusted that the nation's judiciary would do right by the boy. But the recent ruling has caused her to lose faith, she said.

Wang added that Liu may threaten the safety of her own two children, should he be released after 30 years. In every court appearance, her personal information and address are laid bare before the defendants. Should the main defendant go free after 30 years, he may seek out her children, she told local media.

At the sit-down on Friday, protesters held up placards that read "Dinosaur justices" and "The judiciary is unjust." Some in the crowd approached Wang for an embrace.

According to case records, 2-year-old Wang Hao had died from physical abuse at the hands of Liu and three others. The four were accused of breaking the boy's limbs and nose, removing his nails and injecting him with amphetamines and heroin.

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