“They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed--run over, maimed, destroyed--but they continued to play anyhow.”
Taiwan's anti-drug regime has a dual nature: it is absolutely brutal, yet has a strong rehabilitative element. I look at it in my latest piece for Taiwan News...
Although it is not often remarked on, side by side with the loud regime of strict punishment to restore society’s moral order by scapegoating an outcast is a quiet regime of rehabilitation, forced rehab in the case of repeat offenders. It is important to note that the DPP Administration did not advocate disturbing any of this. Although DPP politicians have from time to time joined the call to punish drug use more severely, by and large the DPP has avoided the KMT’s harsher approaches.The "War on Drugs" was announced in 1993 by then-premier Lien Chan. Drugs suck twice over: first they destroy you, then the government steps in and destroys you again. Lien's order destroyed the lives of many people only harming themselves. Fortunately, as I note in the piece above, in 1994 the government also moved to impose a rehabilitation regime. This means that in Taiwan drug users have the twin status of patients and criminals.
According to one of the papers I read in preparation for this, the reason for the KMT administration's decision to make war on victims was simple: the US was also promoting its own costly and destructive War on Drugs, and the KMT wanted to curry favor with the US. It also saw participation in international "anti-drug" efforts as a way to align itself with the international community and raise the ROC's profile, in the KMT's never ending religious quest to become a recognized state.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!