Taiwanese politics can get quite violent at times. According to a recent Reuters article
In January, a brawl involving about 50 MPs who wanted to stop parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng from accessing his podium lasted for four hours.
Shoes were thrown at the speaker, a microphone was ripped out and thrown across the chambers. MPs shoved and pulled one another's ties. Wang never made it to the podium.
Some of the brawling MPs turned to reporters and cameramen, yelling slogans to them and brandishing signs.
In 2005 one legislator needed stitches after he was struck by a mobile phone. Last year an MP used tear gas. Shouting exchanges occur almost every week on the parliament floor.
But according to the same article, these fights are all staged for the benefit of the media:
The brawling and histrionics in parliament that have put Taiwan politics on the world map for the past 20 years are staged acts, legislators and political observers say. They are planned in advance to generate media attention and garner favour with voters who like to see their representatives fight as hard as they can on tough issues. Lawmakers even call up allies to ask that they wear sports shoes ahead of the choreographed clashes. They have been known to meet up afterwards for drinks. "It's really a media event, staged for media coverage," said Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Joanna Lei.
I guess this would be the Jerry-Springer-Show model of government.
Well, at least staged fights make political debates more interesting. It would certainly liven up American politics to put all the candidates in a ring and let them duke it out.
Of course, there have been some scuffles in Congress, such as when, in 1798, Roger Griswold attacked Matthew Lyon with a stick
. And in 1856 Preston Brooks attacked Sen. Charles Sumner
with a cane. But those fights weren't staged. (Thanks, Joe)