Parliamentary Debate, Taiwan Style

(6Park)  The big day is here for the second reading of the NCC bill in the Legislative Yuan.  Prior to entering into the chambers, each side showed their preparation.  On one side, these are the G6 group from the KMT in Taekwando gear.  Their choice of uniform reflects that the fact that they have an Olympic silver medalist in the ranks.  Olympic Taekwondo silver medalist-turned-lawmaker Huang Chih-hsiung of the KMT, demonstrated some of his acrobatic kicks for cameras.  

On the other side, these are members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.  They are dressed in battle camouflage clothes and steel helmets to show they were "valiant soldiers defending Taiwan."  There is one media report that identified their clothing to be those worn by mainland Chinese military and were rented from a shop at NT$300 per day.

At issue is the bill of the National Communications Commission (NCC).  The "pan blue" side of the KMT and the People First Party insists that members of the NCC be assigned in proportion to the number of legislative seats held by political parties.  But the "pan green" side of the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union maintains that the members be appointed by the premier.  The DPP camp criticized the pan blue side for trying to allow politicians to manipulate the media.  But the pan blue camp said the DPP was rejecting the bill in order to continue its control of the media through the present Government Information Office. 

There are 225 legislators, divided into 115 "pan-blue", 101 "pan-green" and 9 independents.  If it came down to a straight vote, it will go the way of the "pan-blue."

What do the people of Taiwan think?  As China Post puts it, "The article deals with the purposes of setting up the NCC -- to realize the constitutional provisions on the protection of freedom of expression,to honor the commitment of 'withdrawing partisan, political and military influences from the media,' and to maintain a professional and autonomous environment for the healthy development of the media industry."  According to the instant Apple Daily poll (automated telephone interviews with 418 adults in Taiwan), "Do you know the contents of the NCC law?"  34.5% yes; 56.5% no; 9% no opinion.  

Since everybody must have seen the video highlights, what about the poll question: "Which do you think is the source of chaos in Taiwan?"  22.1% Legislative Yuan; 11.2% media; 10.0% criminal gangsters; 47.9% all of the above; 8.9% don't know/no opinion.

So now we go to the action.

(Taiwan Times)

At 11:32am, a violent exchange broke out between the two camps after the legislative speaker ordered an article-by-article discussion of the NCC bill.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) engaged in a violent scuffle with DPP Legislator Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲). Chang was beaten by three DPP lawmakers with a plastic stick after being pushed to the floor.  He was severely wounded on his left eyebrow, with blood streaming down his face. He was later rushed to the nearby National Taiwan University Hospital, where he received 10 large stitches and over 100 small stitches.  He also suffered from minor fractures on his forehead and right shoulder and complained about dizziness. He was ordered by doctors to stay at the hospital for further observation.

Lee suffered a broken lip, sprained ankle, and a bruised nose and knee. He also complained about vertigo and was rushed to the same hospital for treatment but later released.  Chang claimed Lee had hit him on the head with a mobile phone, which was later snatched by him and KMT Legislator Chen Chieh (陳杰). Lee, however, said that he had acted purely out of self defense.  

The two camps then pointed fingers at each other for inciting the violence, with the pan-blue camp accusing its rival of attempting "premeditated murder" and the pan-greens berating the pan-blue for "acting as if it is the victim."

Front cover of Apple Daily