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For or against abolition of the death penalty: Evidence from Taiwan (2019)

Most public opinion polls, both in Taiwan and throughout the world, erroneously present the death penalty as a clear-cut issue that one is either for or again.

Closer examination of the context and complexities of public opinion invariably reveals that, as with other views on criminal justice policy, attitudes towards capital punishment shift depending on a variety of factors, from the circumstances of the offence and the offender to the availability of alternative punishments. Without rigorous questioning that goes beyond simple ‘for or against’ polling, these and other important nuances regarding the public’s views are often overlooked in debates on the death penalty.

To shed more light on the question of public attitudes towards capital punishment in Taiwan, the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, with the financial support of the European Union (EIDHR), in 2013 commissioned Professor Chiu Hei-Yuan, Professor of Sociology at the prestigious Academia Sinica to conduct a more sophisticated in-depth public opinion survey. As with similar surveys recently conducted in other jurisdictions, the study provided important insights into the strength of the Taiwanese public’s oft-cited support for the death penalty, revealing a much more nuanced picture than had been previously painted.

This video was produced with the financial support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

To find out more, read our report ‘For or against abolition of the death penalty: Evidence from Taiwan’

Video credit: The Death Penalty Project (2019) / Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty

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