The Martial Law Era in Taiwan Essay

The Martial Law Era in Taiwan Essay

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The Martial Law was imposed in Taiwan in 1949 along with the Wartime Temporary Provisions and at the same time the Constitution was suspended (Hsiao and Hsiao, 2001: 4). Along came prohibition formation of new political parties, and it gave the secret police, which had wide-ranging powers to arrest anyone voicing criticism of government policy (International Committee for Human Rights in Taiwan, 1987: 3). Accordingly, the process of liberalization was long over due.
The main aspiration of the Kuomintang (KMT) officials of enacting the Martial Law was that they wanted Taiwan to become bastion for the future recovery of mainland People’s Republic of China (Chao and Myers, 2000: 387). If the communist regime would ever lose support and collapse, the Republic of China (ROC) party would restore its governance over the mainland of China. Consequently, the immediate concern of the new government was to prevent communist subversion and Taiwanese nationalism from undermining ROC governance over the Taiwan province (ibid). In order to achieve these goals, the ROC government and ruling KMT suspended any activities that might have weakened their authority by adjourning civil liberties, e.g. equality between the political sphere and social sphere, right to life corrupted by the Martial Law, freedom of speech banned and right to assembly banned (Suomen Vartioliikkeitten Liitto ry, 2008: 61). This they did as early as 19th May 1949, when Taiwan’s governor, Chen Cheng, imposed the Martial Law and began establishing the legal and bureaucratic criticism or threat to public order in case of sedition (Chao and Myers, 2000: 387-388). Under the law and adjudicate individuals would be charged by a military court, and if found guilty either imprison or ...


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...rk do reconstruct the context of the state of exception. During the Martial Law the state of exception was employed indirectly into the Taiwanese social sphere through the foreign policy that created a fragmentation of the political sphere and the social sphere. This undermined the Taiwanese society by shifting the social sphere into the zone of exception. Similar with the National Security Law, except it affected directly the civilians by limiting their rights by translating them into the zone of the exception where they were regarded neither juridically nor politically. As a result, this situation could be understood, as Diamond (2011: 21) posits, that democracy is lost as the level of freedom is in decline due to the bad governance as it does not grant full-fledged civil rights instead keeps civilians in the sphere of exception in case of the public resistance.



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