AbstractWhile a substantial number of studies have examined public opinion on the death penalty in the USA, and more recently parts of Asia, including China, very few empirical studies have considered support for the death penalty in Taiwan. This paper examines public attitudes in Taiwan and the role of ‘value conflict’ in attitudes to both death penalty abolition and in the context of alternatives. Using the results of 1016 respondents drawn from a national face-to-face sample (n = 2039) survey conducted by the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) in 2014, we demonstrate that public attitudes in Taiwan are simultaneously committed to many underlying values in conflict. The results also indicate that value conflict exists among the majority of the sample (more than 60 per cent) who are prepared to accept alternatives to abolition, and whom we can describe as ambivalent. Recognition of value conflict, ambivalence and the moral psychology underpinning public attitudes to the death penalty is essential, not only conceptually but to allow for a more appropriate and nuanced understanding of the abolitionist/retentionist debate.