Legislative brawling

The Taiwanese legislature has a bit of reputation for violence. I’m not talking about bad words here, but actual fists flying, hair pulling, biting, and headbutts.

Legislative Yuan
Jiang [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia has a long long article on legislative violence, with examples from Peru, the Ukraine, and the United States. But Taiwan takes the cake. The Legislative Yuan (a kind of parliament) involves some very hostile questioning and debate, and this not infrequently erupts into physical altercations.

2004 was a bumper year for these fights: one notable incident – broadcast on television – involved one legislator wrestling another down, then trying to headbutt him and punch him in the stomach. Later on that year two parties got into a food fight over military purchasing decisions.

A fight in 2007 is so unbelievable I have to quote it directly:

Amid a proposal about creating direct transport links with People’s Republic of China, DPP deputy Wang Shu-hui snatched the written proposal and shoved it into her mouth. Opposition members failed to get her to cough it up by pulling her hair. She later spat the proposal out and tore it up. This was the third time that the DPP’s actions had stopped a vote over the issue.

In 2007 there was a fifty-person brawl inside the legislative chamber. There are rumours that these fights are planned in advance, but I don’t really care whether it’s staged or not. It’s outrageous either way.

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