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Democracy endangered by protesters: scholars
Central News Agency
2014-04-29 11:20 PM
Taipei, April 29 (CNA) Two scholars Tuesday lashed out at recent protest movements that occupied government buildings and public streets to press demands, warning that such actions could turn back the clock on democracy and even lead to its collapse. Peng Chin-peng, an associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University, lambasted anti-nuclear power activists for gathering at a busy intersection in downtown Taipei in the evening, causing traffic congestion as commuters tried to get home after work. "Violence, threats and intimidation are enemies of democracy and the rule of law," Peng said, calling Tuesday's developments an indication that democracy is regressing. Tuesday's protest followed a nearby road occupation Sunday as protesters tried to draw attention to their calls for scrapping Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant, which sits nearly finished in New Taipei. Professor Chang Ya-chung, also of National Taiwan University, warned that it would be catastrophic for democracy if populism takes hold at the expense of rationality and the rule of law. Taiwanese tend to appeal to emotions these days to impose their opinions on others instead of seriously deliberating proper ways to address major issues, he argued. He cautioned that people degenerate into mobs when rationality and rule of law are taken out of the picture. The professor dismissed rationalizations that any action was fair game in the fight against nuclear power to show an apparent love for Taiwan, saying such thinking jeopardizes law and order. He urged the public not to condone the blocking off of streets by protesters, which he said could become the norm if people continue to turn a blind eye. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Scully Hsiao)
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