Does Taiwan have a mental problem?
On April 1, 2016, the city of Tainan revealed that there are 10,498 mental patients in the city. The Tainan city health bureau also announced that “schizophrenia” is hereby renamed “mental and emotional imbalance” because the incidents of violence by schizophrenics are not higher than the number of violent crimes committed by those having no mental illnesses.
At 11:00 a.m. on March 28, 2016, a 33-year-old man with a cleaver came up from behind a 4-year-old girl on the street and beheaded the child. On March 29, 2016, a young man carried a machete and boarded a metro train. A policeman pulled him off the train and pinned him down on the station platform. The policeman suffered several severe cuts. At 10:00 p.m. on the night of March 31, 2016, in the city of Tainan, a man used a fruit knife and cut the throat of a 12-year-old girl. He was the ex-boyfriend of the mother of the little girl. The victim was sent to the hospital. A mob of some 400 people gathered in front of the police station demanding justice. The police announced that the perpetrator has not been apprehended. The mob stayed outside the police station from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on April 1, 2016, before dispersing. On April 1, 2016, two Vietnamese laborers came up to another Vietnamese worker and attacked him with knives, injuring him.
At noon, on March 31, 2016, police entered the campus of Chengchi University and forcibly removed a man known as “waving brother” who has been seen on campus almost daily waving his arms and speaking loudly to himself. The Taipei Health and Welfare Bureau says that the man has been under observation by the health authorities for a long time, and although he has not posed any threat to any students or staff, the order to take him to the hospital for medical checkup was ordered following the March 28 decapitation incident. Another homeless woman who went to the Taipei Municipal Library and intentionally disrupted the library by shouting loudly was apprehended by police on April 1, 2016.
The rash of knife attacks within the period of five days has been widely reported and discussed by the media and the pundits. Those advocating the abolition of the death penalty have been under attack by many who want justice for the random beheading of a 4-year-old little girl now known as “the little light bulb” for her cheery disposition as a little girl.
Taiwan’s mental health system has been criticized, Taiwan’s treatment and determination of the mentally unstable have also come under criticism. Yet, only a few have pointed out that Taiwan has a serious drug abuse problem, and many junior middle school children have been picking up drug habits. Taiwan’s anti-drug laws and implementation of anti-drug measures are too relaxed, and the Taiwanese do not have a high sense of vigilance towards drug abuse. A majority of traffic stops result in the apprehension of drug users and drug dealers. Many are caught trying to escape police checks. And over the past decade, almost all slashing incidents were committed by drug abusers. The three most notorious criminals of slashing cases that have caused death have been drug users and drug abusers but all of them have been sentenced to life imprisonment rather than death. This is because incumbent president Ma Ying-jeou signed an agreement pledging Taiwan to the “two UN resolutions” on implementing a moratorium on the death penalty, and Taiwanese judges have not issued any death sentences based on the two UN resolutions. Such judgments have angered some pundits, saying that criminals who commit such hideous crimes do not deserve to live.
Taiwan does have a mental problem. The root of the problem is the government’s lack of vigilance against rampant drug abuse, the general tolerance of the people, or shall we say, the general good will and ignorant sympathy of the people of Taiwan. According to a Hong Kong comment about the people of Taiwan, the “people of Taiwan are too nice, and rather simplistically innocent”.