Head of state
Ma Ying-jeou
Head of government
Wu Den-yih
Death penalty

Taiwan handed down more death sentences in 2011 than in any year in the past decade, despite stating that its long-term goal was abolition of the death penalty. Restrictions on freedom of assembly remained, with no progress made towards a relaxation of existing, stringent laws. The authorities did little to protect the housing rights of farmers across the island, at times colluding in their eviction.


In 2009, Taiwan ratified the ICCPR and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite passing an Implementation Act, which required the government to bring all laws, regulations, ordinances and administrative measures in line with the covenants before 10 December 2011, Taiwan had yet to amend or abolish the majority of those not in compliance.

Top of page

Death penalty

Five people were executed on 4 March – just one month after President Ma apologized for the 1997 execution of an innocent man. As of November, there were 55 inmates with confirmed death sentences.

  • On 28 July, the Supreme Court rejected Chiou-Ho-shun’s final appeal against his death sentence. On 25 August, the Prosecutor General rejected a request to seek an extraordinary appeal for a retrial. Chiou Ho-shun had been sentenced to death for robbery, kidnapping, blackmail and murder in 1989. With no material evidence, his conviction was based on confessions he and co-defendants alleged were extracted through torture. His case had bounced between the High Court and the Supreme Court for more than two decades.
Top of page

Justice system

As a step towards ensuring judicial independence and transparency, the Legislative Yuan passed the Judges Act in June to make it easier to remove judges found to be incompetent or corrupt.

Top of page

Freedom of expression and assembly

Despite continued public demand, there was no progress on the government’s proposal to amend the Assembly and Parade Law. The law allows police to forcibly disperse peaceful protesters, and places other restrictions on peaceful demonstrations.

Top of page

Housing rights

Government officials allowed – and sometimes helped – developers to evict farmers across the country without due process including by failing to provide alternative accommodation or adequate compensation.

Top of page

Migrants’ rights

Migrant workers were unable to freely change employer. Domestic migrant workers and care-givers were often forced to work without adequate rest. The media exposed abuse and exploitation of migrant workers by government officials and celebrities.

Top of page
World regions Midde East and North Africa Asia Pacific Europe and Central Asia Africa Americas

Jump to a Country Report


The popular movements across North Africa resonated with people in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in countries with r ...


On 11 August 2011, Judge Patrícia Acioli was shot 21 times outside her home in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state, Braz ...

Asia Pacific

As winds of political change blew in from the Middle East and North Africa, several governments in the Asia-Paci ...

Europe and Central Asia

Early one spring morning in a small village in Serbia, one of Europe’s biggest manhunts came to an ...

Middle East and North Africa

For the peoples and states of the Middle East and North Africa, 2011 was a truly momentous year. ...

Amnesty International on social networks

Country Reports

No reports available

Country Visits

No information on visits available