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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
Democracy is in Jeopardy over the DPRK
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Democracy is in Jeopardy over the DPRK

Duk-min Yun, Chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, in Chosun Ilbo (June 27, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Cheong Wa Dae, The Republic of Korea)

Democracy is in Jeopardy over the DPRK

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office building. Given the special context of the North and the South, this act is equivalent to an attack of a diplomatic office. Most countries in such situations would consider military action, and at the very least, immediately cease diplomatic relation. President Moon Jae-in responded that he will remain patient, adding that it was the South that broke a promise with propaganda provocation. His administration calls for providing additional support to the North and passing laws against further civilian provocation.

What is most infuriating is that this attitude of the leadership is jeopardizing the South’s hard-fought democracy. South Korea is a UN member state and its government holds no power to restrict its citizens’ basic rights over bilateral agreements or treaties. Criminalizing South Korean citizens from practicing their freedom of speech over an agreement with the DPRK is just that.

Not only the freedom of speech but also human rights is sacrificed when it comes to the DPRK. Despite South Korea’s usual solid stance of protecting its citizens’ rights abroad, this stops at the DPRK. There are six South Korean nationals detained in the North. This is in addition to 11 passengers from the Korean Air Lines plane hijacked in 1969 and another estimated 20,000 and 516 civilians kidnapped during and after the Korean War. Yet the issue of releasing detained citizens went unmentioned during the three inter-Korea summits held between the current leaders of the two Koreas.

The DPRK is a special country that must be dealt with through cooperation and mutual respect at all costs. But the attitude of the current leadership makes one question whether democracy and human rights still make up the fundamental core of our national identity.


The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code

Wong Kam Fai, Associate Dean (External Affairs), Faculty of Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and former president of Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council, in Hong Kong Economic Times (June 25, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: N509FZ)

The Greater Bay Area Should Adopt its Own Health Code

The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has severely affected the lives of Hong Kong people. Quarantine policies and travel restrictions hindered exchanges and cooperation within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA).

There are nearly 300,000 Hong Kong people working in Guangdong Province and nearly 900,000 immigrants from the mainland in Hong Kong. Many people travel between both places, living in one and working in the other. Although under the "one country, two systems" policy, Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macau belong to three different administrative regions, those that travel frequently between the three places, perceive themselves as "Bay Area" people who should work together to create value for the GBA.

Since February, to restore economic and social order, a "health code" program was launched on the mainland. The system relies on the national integrated government service platform to carry out data sharing on epidemic prevention health information systems in various provinces and cities. Without such a code, Hong Kong lags the rest of the country.

The Hong Kong Government should launch a health code as soon as possible. This will facilitate the relaxing of the 14-day mandatory isolation and the restarting of customs clearance operations. From the mainland’s experience, the health code has played an irreplaceable and important role in the balance between continuous epidemic control and the resumption of normal life.

The Greater Bay Area, the 13th largest economy in the world by GDP, has not been able to lift the cross-border movement restrictions, even though the domestic epidemic situation is under control. A Bay Area health code is urgently required in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau to protect the health of people in the GBA. This will support the potential of the GBA by allowing Bay Area people to pass across the border while protecting their health.


A New Narrative is Needed for China-US Relations
Friday, June 26, 2020
A New Narrative is Needed for China-US Relations

Ruan Zongze, Executive Vice President, China Institute of International Studies, in Global Times (June 24, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: futureatlas.com)

A New Narrative is Needed for China-US Relations

While competition, confrontation, decoupling and the “new Cold War” have all become the labels associated with China-US relations, not all hope is lost. The US is attempting to redefine the relationship. “Strategic competition" has become the key phrase to describe Washington’s policy towards Beijing. The US has stressed that "competition" is not “containment”, a term that had applied to American policy towards the Soviet Union.

The global pandemic, economic recession and anti-racism protests have complicated the US election year. The US has become lost, suspicious and angry. It needs to find a distraction to divert attention. Since President Donald Trump took office, he has launched "principled realism" in an effort to promote US interests.

Washington would uphold “principled realism” and adopt a competitive approach to China. This involves deliberately distorting China’s political system and strategic intentions while arrogantly exaggerating the “China threat” and falsely claiming that China has launched a challenge to the US’s economy, values and national security. As an excuse, it advocates a continued hardline policy to exert pressure on China across all fronts. In contrast to China's assertion of "harmony and difference", the US always wants to change others. Now, the US wants to change China with "principled realism".

The interests of all countries are deeply intertwined in the era of globalization, and China and the US are no exception. China is on the rise, and a more powerful and prosperous China can provide more effective solutions to the world’s problems. Trying to push Sino-US relations into a "new Cold War" is tantamount to creating more problems and reversing history. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that we all live in the same global village. Where the world will go after this crisis will depend on the wrangling between the two orders of multilateralism and unilateralism.


Open Season on the Free press
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Open Season on the Free press

Randy David, sociologist and journalist, in his Public Lives column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (June 21, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: PCOO EDP/King Rodriguez)

Open Season on the Free press

When Rodrigo Duterte became president in 2016, the media organizations that had been critical of him during the campaign became his principal targets. He named three in particular: the newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer, the broadcast network ABS-CBN, and the news website Rappler. He attacked all three for biased and distorted reporting.

Duterte accused the Inquirer owners of not paying the correct taxes on their other businesses, and of illegally extending a lease on a choice property in the city owned by a government agency in exchange for low rental. He denounced ABS-CBN for taking his money and not airing his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential election and accused its owners of not paying their debts to a government-owned bank. He vowed to prevent the renewal of the network’s franchise, telling its owners to sell the company instead. Irked by its critical reporting on the conduct of his bloody war on drugs, he banned the Rappler reporter from entering Malacañang (the presidential palace).

All this would have been more than enough to cue everyone in the hunting party to pursue the prey. But the president never stopped issuing the call for the hunt. He would repeat the same charges each time he went off-script in his rambling speeches. It came to a point when he sounded as if he wanted nothing less than a lynching.

To ignore this context and the authoritarian viciousness that has preceded the state-enabled proceedings against the Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and Rappler is to subject oneself to willful blindness. It would not be unlike covering the rest of a patient’s body with a sheet during surgery to show only the choice tissue of the moment. It is to disregard the rest of the morbid mess underlying the president’s obsessive focus on the offending wound.


The Limits of Freedom of Speech
Monday, June 22, 2020
The Limits of Freedom of Speech

Lee Jin-soo, journalist, in Asia Business Daily (June 19, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Picture credit: Uri Tours)

The Limits of Freedom of Speech

North Korea made headlines when it cut the communication lines to the South and destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office building. The North cited the leaflets sent across the border by North Korean defector communities residing in South Korea as reason for their hostile actions. In an effort to cool the tensions, the South Korean government declared its plans to take legal action against the said organizations for violating the Inter-Korean Interchange and Cooperation Act and to cancel their registration as legal organizations. 

Some worry that these measures are in violation of freedom of speech and the rights to information of the North Korean citizens. Sending cross-border propaganda leaflets is a right to free expression, but few can deny that this form of expression is a dangerous act that could trigger military conflicts on the sensitive Korean peninsula.

Furthermore, there have been multiple agreements made over the years between the two Koreas to refrain from slandering and defaming the other. The most recent Panmunjom Declaration of 2018 specifically calls for a stop to loudspeaker propaganda and leaflet distribution in the DMZ area.

The South Korean Constitution grants freedom of speech but asserts the need to withhold this freedom when necessary for national security, for maintenance of law and order, or for public welfare. This was the basis for the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the government to limit the civil society’s leaflet propaganda for reasons of national security.

However important, freedom of speech cannot take precedence over peace, and the government must stop the leaflet propaganda.


Playing it Safe and Getting by in the World
Monday, June 22, 2020
Playing it Safe and Getting by in the World

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok Post (June 19, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: World Travel & Tourism Council)

Playing it Safe and Getting by in the World

Even prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Thailand's strategic posture had been dominated by political preoccupations at home. The pandemic merely accentuated trends and patterns in Thailand's foreign policy and security outlook in view of the geopolitical rivalry and competition between the US and China.

As virus infections have recently shown signs of slowing down, Thailand's strategic role and challenges are on course to return in full, just as they were prior to the virus outbreak. The domestic political instability from cycles of coups, constitutions, and elections since constitutionalism replaced the absolute monarchy in 1932 has made Thailand unable to make a break for a stable political future for the majority of its people. In turn, these domestic shortcomings have hindered Thailand's role abroad.

Thailand's circular holding pattern risks sliding into anemic economic growth while some of its neighbors have been expanding twice as fast with more dynamic prospects and progress ahead.

The coronavirus crisis has compounded Thailand's headwinds as the economy is forecast to suffer the deepest contraction compared to its ASEAN peers. Moreover, Thailand's structural reforms and economic upgrading to move up value chains and out of the middle-income trap have made little progress, with no promising prospects as long as the political environment remains murky.

Thailand will not be acting belligerently abroad to divert attention away from domestic problems. The country will continue to be risk-averse, playing it safe and getting by in international life. For the rest of the world, this country cannot be ignored without considerable geopolitical costs. But for the Thais, their country cannot regain strategic heft and command global attention until it goes through a kind of reckoning at home to see what kind of polity and country they want to end up with for a position and role abroad.


The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions
Monday, June 22, 2020
The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions

Tai Shih-yin, lawyer, in United Daily News (June 20, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Makoto Lin/Office of the President, Taiwan)

The Government’s Plans to Aid Hong Kong Citizens Raise Questions

The Mainland Affairs Council has finally announced a new “Humanitarian Aid and Care Action Plan” for Hong Kong citizens. There remains, however, a number of legal uncertainties about how it would work.

First, the legal basis of the action plan is both general and brief. The relevant provisions have not been updated since they were devised in 1997. Whether the existing legal basis can cope with the new relationship between Taiwan and Hong Kong is unclear. 

Second, once a draft “Refugee Law” is passed, the legal rights of Hong Kong people will be lower than that of foreigners or stateless people. From a macro perspective, Taiwan's assistance to Hong Kong people lacks comprehensive and clear legal protection.

Third, assistance is focused on “specific cases” through the Executive Yuan. This model inherently has the advantages of stricter scrutiny, adaptability to circumstances and the avoidance of wasted resources. In the absence of transparent and open supporting regulations, however, it will lack external supervision, and any administrative arbitrary decision making could affect the fairness of any assistance allocation.

Many more questions remain. For example, what is the definition and applicable eligibility criteria of the so-called “political reasons” in the aforementioned regulations? Are they limited to those prosecuted under the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law”? Will the same assistance be provided to suspected criminals who have also participated in violent resistance in Hong Kong? If a case's application for assistance is rejected, what are the procedures for legal remedy?

Without a sound foundation for the rule of law, is the action plan merely lip service?


How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19
Friday, June 19, 2020
How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19

Justin Chan Long Hin, associate researcher, MWYO, in Hong Kong Economic Journal (June 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Jonathan van Smit)

How Young People View the Government’s Handling of Covid-19

In late May, MWYO commissioned a survey of 509 18-34-year-olds to determine how they rate the government’s handling of the epidemic. The results were mixed. When they were asked to evaluate the government's overall anti-epidemic measures, only about a quarter thought the government had done a good job. This may be due to the distrust in the government among young people that had increased in the months before the pandemic.

The survey showed that 81 percent of young people believed that the closure of schools was helpful, while 69 percent believed that the isolation of travelers and close contacts of diagnosed cases was useful. In addition, 52 percent saw benefits in restricting or suspending the operation of certain industries. Only 20 percent of the young people interviewed believed that the government’s distributing free reusable masks was effective. This suggests that the earlier the government implemented certain measures, the greater the support for them.

The survey also found that those whose employment conditions had deteriorated were more dissatisfied with the overall performance of the government. If the government is able to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the economy, it will likely boost the positive perception of its handling of the outbreak among those who are employed.

In terms of financial support measures, 57 percent of the young people surveyed believed that the government played a role in alleviating youth unemployment and economic pressure. A smaller number of young people (45 percent) thought that the government's distribution of HK$10,000 to each resident had the same effect, suggesting scepticism of the direct cash transfer approach. Overall, only 19 percent of the young people surveyed believed that the government's overall economic support measures were successful.


The Plight of the Sugar-Cane Farmers
Thursday, June 18, 2020
The Plight of the Sugar-Cane Farmers

Khudori, member of the Food Security Council Working Group, in Republika (June 16, 2020)

Summary by Keith Loveard (Photo credit: PK Niyogi)

The Plight of the Sugar-Cane Farmers

The sugar cane harvest season is upon us again. Since May, farmers have been cutting their cane and taking it to factories for processing. Sadly, like years before, they are doing so just as prices collapse. They face a dilemma: If they process their cane, they will suffer a loss. If they do not, they know it is likely that the market will be filled with imported sugar.

Panicking because of a shortfall in the market and rising prices for sugar, the government since March has been handing out import licenses. In total, 1.14 million tons is being imported. As a result, the market has been overwhelmed with sugar. 

According to Guntur Saragih, a member of the Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition, there are indications of cartel practices in the supply of sugar to the market. Importers, distributors and traders play with the price to the point that the consumer has to pay heavily. Every opportunity for such manipulation needs to be firmly closed so that farmers can get a reasonable return.


Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again

Hong De-sheng, Chairman, Taiwanese Association for Ageing Society (TAAS), in Storm Media Group (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Help Retirees who are Willing to Work Again

Improvements in health and life expectancy have helped seniors become more active and socially engaged. According to an online survey by the Taiwanese Association for Ageing Society (TAAS), 88 percent of employed and retired people between the ages of 40 and 75 are willing to continue working after reaching retirement.

There are a number of reasons for this – 23 percent wish to utilize their expertise or interests, 23 percent want to improve their self-worth and increase social participation to keep the mind active and promote health, and 20 percent aim to maintain good physical strength and health. Among those who wish to work again, 46 percent prefer part-time working hours and 42 percent are flexible. Of the retirees who want to work again, 23 percent face barriers to attending an interview, while 15 percent have difficulty getting information on job opportunities because they lack digital access.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, by the end of 2019 there were more than 3.6 million elderly people (over 65 years old) in Taiwan, accounting for 15.28 percent of the total population. In addition to formulating laws and regulations on the employment of middle-aged and senior citizens, the government has encouraged all sectors to promote employment opportunities for them.

A special unit should be set up to facilitate the employment of the approximately 100,000 retirees in different industries. Information on geographical distribution, industry experience and expertise, and willingness to participate in certain activities can be collected through surveys and a digital platform. Supporting retiree participation in the industrial chain and people-centred sectors such as culture, tourism and education will not only improve the overall welfare of the elderly but will also help Taiwan become the next bright spot on the international stage.


Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control

Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, in ThePrint (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Sumit Saraswat / Shutterstock.com)

Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control

The fight against the pandemic has been so chaotic the world over, and now, in India. What began as a firm, total lockdown that everybody participated in is now degenerating into political name-calling between the ruling party and opposition, the center and the states run by non-BJP parties.

More disappointingly, this also bedevils most public discourse on an issue so life-and-death that our focus should have been on dealing with it rather than employing it to pour out partisan emotions, whether of blind loyalty, deepest dislike, fear or fantasy.

The debate on the pandemic, from lockdowns to clinical treatments to prognoses to infection and death counts, is all divided by ideology. If you love Narendra Modi, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson, they’ve done nothing wrong. If you detest them, they are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

For sure, the pandemic cares two hoots for ideology as long as it’s armed with this still-indestructible virus. But it has done something we couldn’t imagine: Divide epidemiologists on ideological lines. Epidemiology, we understand, is a very well-established science with a centuries-old tradition. It is now another casualty of 2020.

Politics never goes into a freeze, but you can put partisanship in suspended animation for a bit and leave it to the specialists and soldiers.

When BJP leaders, including Modi’s number two, Amit Shah, use the pandemic to launch an assault on state governments run by opposition parties, or to topple them, they are exploiting a grave crisis in cynical political self-interest. The result of this conflict, working at cross-purposes and name-calling, is now showing. The Covid situation, at this moment, looks as though nobody is really in control.


Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse

Kim Hye-ryoung, author and psychologist, in Hankook Ilbo (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: B Negin)

Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse

Recent news of a boy who died after his stepmother locked him in a suitcase and of another whose finger was rubbed against a hot frying pan has put a spotlight on inherent social problems that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Child abuse cases have risen by 13.8 percent. The young do not know how to protect themselves; some do not have the ability to report an abuse, let alone ask for help. Sadly, too many are cases could have been prevented, had only some people cared to notice and act.

Psychologist Alfred Adler included community feeling as an important factor that contributes to happiness. According to his theory, people are happier when they care not only for themselves but for others. Although Korea is well known for its group mentality, too often this “group” only extends to one’s immediate family. This is shown by Korea’s low adoption rate compared to other developed countries. The Korean mentality often means that parents are obsessed by their offspring, regarding them as possessions and are unable to love and care for other children who are just as vulnerable as their own.

More people should break free from this narrow-mindedness and adopt a feeling of community. Even just noticing whether a child on the street has a scar, is underweight or seems excessively intimidated may help prevent another death from child abuse. Watching out for all children as one’s own may be the best way to save our children and should be a basic duty that adults have to the vulnerable in society.


A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple

Ploenpote Atthakor, Editorial Page Editor, in Bangkok Post (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Krishnagopi06)

A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple

“This cannot be serious" was my initial reaction to reports saying The Transport Company (Thailand’s long-distance bus operator) is imposing a ban on foreign travelers to curb the spread of Covid-19. Absurd, isn't it? Don't they know the country has been locked down for months? No foreign visitors or tourists are allowed in, so where would a travel-related virus come from?

If that were not absurd enough, there are reports that at least one temple in Bangkok – Wat Pho – has also adopted a "Thais-only" policy, which is blatant discrimination and has been met with widespread criticism.

But we cannot blame the temple and The Transport Company – not entirely. For nearly three months, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has put forward the idea that foreigners or Thais abroad are a health threat.

The notion that "if they are allowed in, the country would be at risk of more infections" led to a ban on foreign visitors and stringent measures against Thais wishing to return home. The state came up with ways to make it tough to return, which means stranded Thais are unfairly exposed to Covid-19.

Air travel and borders are expected to remain closed until at least July. In fact, the "Thais only" gate was there at the temple long before Covid-19 hit the country. When Thais visit a temple, they don't have to pay or buy tickets. This is because it is presumed Thais are there to make merit. I don't agree with this policy, but I recognize the idea behind it: Thais pay taxes, so they don't need to get a ticket.

Discrimination will persist as long as the state does not learn about the problem. Several state-run recreational sites, national parks, museums and others condone discrimination by adopting two-tier tickets or prices.


How Singapore Can Go From Strength to Strength After the Epidemic
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
How Singapore Can Go From Strength to Strength After the Epidemic

Pei Sai Fan, Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore, Co-Founder of the Lee & Pei Finance Institute, and senior official at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from 1999 to 2014, in Lianhe Zaobao (June 15, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Kitty Mao)

How Singapore Can Go From Strength to Strength After the Epidemic

Singapore needs innovative thinking to solve the problems caused by the Covid-19-induced economic downturn. There are several key issues:

First, Covid-19 will permanently change some economic activities – for example, accelerating the rise of contactless businesses and services, online education, remote offices, videoconferencing and other online business activities. Second, Covid-19 has accelerated digital globalization. With more people working from home, the separation of labor and the location of the company has become possible. Third, due to the greater autonomy of jobs, human resources will tend to be a managed more horizontally bringing about new social issues that will differ from the traditional company benefits systems relating to welfare and pensions.

Due to restrictions on international travel, Singapore should focus on creating opportunities at home while using this period to build a more solid foundation for Singapore's long-term survival and development.

First, Covid-19 highlights the importance of digital and information migration in human society. Digitalization and informatization can effectively improve the level of social governance and public safety. Second, it also underscores the importance of investing in digital solutions, from high-definition video and reliable information transmission systems to supercomputers and artificial intelligence. These have proven to be critical in addressing the pandemic and furthering research into treatment and a vaccine. Third, Covid-19 highlights the importance of national strategic materials reserves. Singapore must improve this capacity to prepare for further outbreaks. 

In view of this, Singapore should simulate various disaster scenarios and carefully review which strategic industrial supply chains it should develop domestically. This will create job opportunities. Singapore should also focus its attention on strengthening its “new infrastructure" such as 5G infrastructure and new energy vehicles. Ultimately, Singapore should make use of the opportunities brought about by Covid-19 to strengthen the foundations for long-term sustainable development.


Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?
Monday, June 15, 2020
Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?

Leila De Lima, lawyer, human-rights activist and Senator, in Rappler (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Philippine News Agency)

Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?

Is the anti-terror bill protecting us from terror and fear? Or normalizing them? If this bill passes, no part of any person’s life is secure anymore, as it gives the government the power to track down or follow anyone, and to tap, listen, intercept or record any message, conversation, discussion, spoken or written words, including computer and network surveillance, and other communications of persons.

The government says that there are safeguards in place, including judicial authorization. Yet the law allows so much discretion on the executive, including in the determination of what constitutes terrorist attacks and who are terrorists and terrorist organizations, that it is easy to imagine a scenario where even the courts might not be willing, able, or prepared to stand as safeguards against abuse.

So, what is the danger? First, this is a criminal statute. It puts people in danger of losing their liberty, possibly for the rest of their life. People have the constitutional right to know what acts are being punished before they are penalized from doing them. Second, given the vague definitions, it could be weaponized as a tool of harassment against those that government wants to silence.

History has taught us that repressive regimes can and will abuse any power they can get, even to the point of using it against persons who are merely exercising their legitimate rights and freedoms.

Of course, we need to improve our response to terrorism. I applaud those who wish to amend the bill to protect the people. But the government cannot protect the people by perpetually and absolutely placing their lives under threat. Otherwise, the government will be doing a better job than the terrorists.