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Talk of the Day - Court rejects slipper-throwing student's appeal

2014/04/27 17:45:23

A slipper is thrown over Premier Jiang Yi-huah Nov. 13, 2013. (CNA file photo)

A Taipei district court has rejected an appeal by university student Sun chih-yu, who threw a pair of slippers at Premier Jiang Yi-huah in a movie theater last year in an attempt to draw the premier's attention to a labor dispute.

The Shilin District Court upheld its ruling last year that fined Sun NT$5,000 (US$165) for her actions under the Social Order Maintenance Act.

Sun said Saturday that she was dissatisfied with the ruling, which is final, and does not regret her action.

The following are excerpts of local news reports on the incident:

Apple Daily:

Although Sun believes that throwing slippers is a part of her freedom of expression, the court ruled that her action was disrespectful to people in society who value stability.

The judges ruled that the act of slipper-throwing is scornful, belittles other people, threatens other's safety and obstructs official and normal social activities.

The motivation behind the act was legitimate, but the choice of method was improper, according to the judges.

Sun's lawyer said Sun is very disappointed and will seek a constitutional interpretation on articles in the Social Order Maintenance Act that go against the freedom of speech protected by Taiwan's Constitution.

United Daily News:

23-year-old Sun, from southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung, is a senior at National Tsing Hua University. She has been active in social movements, including the recent student-led protests against a service trade pact with China.

Sun said she does not agree with the judges' view that her slipper-throwing act was scornful and threatened the safety of other people, arguing that the pair of slippers weighed less than 100 grams and that she did not carry other weapons.

She said she threw her slippers because moves to petition for former Hualon factory workers -- who say the company has failed to pay them their wages -- have run up against a stone wall. She said she was "reasonably" expressing her views and that her actions are protected by Taiwan's Constitution.

A judge who spoke on condition of anonymity said the court ruling is a declaration of support for the rule of law and defines shoe-throwing as an improper and illegal behavior.

If this irrational behavior is allowed, it will encourage more shoe-throwing and will trample on human dignity and the rule of law, he said.

A lawyer said, however, that the court should be more tolerant because Sun's action did not pose an immediate danger to the people involved and that her motives were pure.

The slipper-throwing incident occurred during a screening of the documentary "Beyond Beauty -- Taiwan From Above," held by the Executive Yuan.

The court said there are many ways in which Sun could have chosen to voice her support for the factory workers, but she chose to throw her slippers and harm the reasonable expectations that the premier, security personnel and filmmakers could have about their work.

The motivation does not justify the means, the judges said.

(By Christie Chen)