OPINION: Misogyny, Murder and Misplaced Blame in Taiwan

The News Lens
Date: 2018/06/21
By: By Brian Hioe, 破土 New Bloom

Photo Credit: 120草原自治區 Grassroots / Facebook

Taiwanese society’s reaction to the murder and dismemberment of a female archery student by her instructor are misdirected.

The conservatism of Taiwanese social morality can be observed in reactions to a recent murder case that occurred in the 120 Grassroots Self-Autonomous Zone, involving the dismemberment of a 30-year-old woman surnamed Gao by a 37-year-old archery teacher surnamed Chen. What is visible through such reactions are attempts to displace blame onto a small group of young people while avoiding addressing deep-rooted problems of toxic masculinity in Taiwanese society. Much reaction has centered on the internet, particularly through the forum PTT, including doxxing of Grassroots organizers by way of the “human flesh search engine”.

Gao disappeared two weeks ago after an event at the 120 Grassroots Self-Autonomous Zone, a temporary arts space that has occupied a grass field in the Shandao Temple area after a group of artists and young people known as the Unregulated Masses applied for use of the space from the city government, forming something like an artists’ commune. Chen was the last person to see her. Gao’s body was discovered on Monday after police, who remained suspicious of Chen, secured a confession from him.

Gao had been strangled by Chen at the 120 Grassroots Self-Autonomous Zone after refusing Chen’s alleged sexual assaults. Chen, who offered archery classes at the 120 Grassroots Self-Autonomous Zone, stored the body for three days before moving the body to Yangming Mountain, where the remains were later found. In particular, Chen dismembered the body into seven pieces, making this the latest in a long series of dismemberment cases that have taken place in the past two months in Taiwan.

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