Justice Minister Wang resigns, firmly opposed to capital punishment
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 1
2010-03-13 12:00 AM
Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng tendered her resignation late Thursday over the barrage of criticism caused by her refusal to approve death penalty executions. Premier Wu Den-yih quickly approved her resignation early yesterday morning, and named Justice Deputy Minister Huang Shih-ming to serve as acting minister.

Wang refused to approve the execution of any of the country's 44 death row convicts. The last execution took place in 2005. On Thursday morning she defended her stance by saying the case would become an international laughing stock if she was forced to resign for her opposition to capital punishment.

But a statement issued on Thursday evening from the Presidential Office emphasized that Wang should adhere to the law on death penalty, thereby touching off speculation that she would announce her resignation.

A senior aide to Wang told reporters that she would not step down over the controversy, but her verbal resignation suddenly came only two hours after the press conference.

While collecting her personal belongings yesterday morning, Wang told the staff in the Ministry of Justice that resignation was probably the best option as she would not sign orders to execute convicts already sentenced to death. Responding to Kuomintang lawmaker Lee Ching-hua's question in the legislative session, Premier Wu denied reports that he had asked or implied Wang to quit, adding that he respected her decision and approved her resignation after consulting with President Ma Ying-jeou.

Earlier this week, Wang said that she would rather resign than have one prisoner put to death during her term in office and released a statement advocating the immediate abolition of capital punishment. Her stance came under fire from lawmakers and relatives of murder victims.

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