30 Nov 2008
Highlights of the rally on Ketagalan Boulevard will include a mock funeral procession to mourn the demise of human rights, Hsu said.
Students from Kaohsiung will carry a 2m bamboo puppet of Ma dressed in a military uniform to symbolize his “returning Taiwan to authoritarian rule,” said Yao Liang-yi (姚量議), a student from Kaohsiung.
Hsu said the public was welcome to join the rally, but that the movement would not tolerate violence or interference by any political parties.
“The tone of the movement has been non-violent and peaceful,” Hsu said, adding that students will ask that people remove any political symbols before joining the rally. (Full Text)
We are Wild Strawberries Student Movement from Taiwan. We are a non-partisan group of students from universities all over Taiwan to fight for human rights. Recently Taiwanese government used excessive police force to threaten our people's freedom of speech and assembly, beat protestors and insists that they do not damage any human rights (please check attachments for detail news report). We students organized to protest and also got dismissed by police force violently against our will. Therefore we gather together at Liberty Square in central Taipei at Nov 6th, 2008 to continue an peaceful sit-in. Today is our 24th day, and our government still maintains their attitude and even gave promotion to these violent police administers.
We are writing to you to invite you to support our act for human rights at Dec 7th, 2008. At Dec 10th, 2008, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from United Nation will celebrate its 60th anniversaries. Therefore, at Dec 7th, we will mobilize people in Taiwan to use non-violent demonstration in central Taipei. This morning we've hold press conference and got very positive reactions. So far, we've got spontaneous responses from many local NGOs in Taiwan, Paris and North America. However, we would like to connect via your organization to the world. We will be very appreciated if you, on behalf of your organization, could hold any kind of peaceful action (ex. a parade, a sit-in, arts, music activities..) in your region at Dec. 7th , in order to support Wild-Strawberries Student Movement fight against the state violence and defend human rights in Taiwan . Your contribution to defend the democracy in Taiwan is very precious for us.
Taiwan has been ranked as "100% free country" by Freedom House all the time until 2008. But now we, as students and the younger generation, are highly disturbed by the increasing control of our new government led by President Ma, especially regarding the freedom of speech. Many students in our movement got threatened by secret police officers, national security staff, and even school officials. The popular term in Taiwan for our generation (the cohort born after 1980s) is the "strawberry" generation, which means that we are spoiled to be able to afford stress. However, today we stand out for a better future. Today is our 24rd day peaceful sit-in protest at the Liberty Square in Taipei (also know as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial).
Recently, the Freedom House, FIDH and Harvard's Professor Jerome Cohen (who was a thesis advisor to President Ma) have joined us in condemning unlawful police violence in Taiwan. We─members of Taiwan's Wild Strawberries Student Movement (http://action1106.blogspot.com)─have continued our peaceful sit-in at Taipei's Liberty Square to petition President Ma and our government and Taiwan's legislature to amend the Assembly and Parade Laws , which unconstitutionally inhibit citizens' freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and gives the police unchecked powers to restrict such freedom─an inalienable human right─from the citizen.
Enclosed please find two statements, one is our petition and selected news reports in English, the other is updated information after two weeks. Should you have any willingness to support our activities defending human rights in your region, please contact us :
International Action Team
Wild Strawberries' Movement
website (Chinese): http://action1106.blogspot.com/
Official Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
In his search for the murderers and their accomplices, the agent learns that there is a student spy network which focuses on the political and social activities of Chinese and Taiwanese-American students on the campus. He discovers that these “student spies” are ubiquitous on college campuses in the United States where there are Chinese and Taiwanese students.(more)
Vol. 6, No. 1, June 2007
Sixty years ago, the Nationalist Chinese Army brutally killed several thousand civilians in Taiwan. After the massacre, the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo continued to rule Taiwan until 1988. During the Chiang era, tens of thousands of civilians were persecuted, tortured and killed.(more)
Due to the cease of Yahoo Live on Dec. 3, the live broadcast of Taipei spot is going to switch to http://zh-tw.justin.tv/action1106
Today (Nov. 30), both the old and the new platforms are available. It is expected to move to the new one on Monday (Dec. 1.)
The Taichung Wild Strawberries has established its unique culture with local characteristics. Compared with the solemn atmosphere in the other locations, we created a space based on the norm of affection, peace and mutual active listening between the groups of the citizens and the sit-in students to induce rational and open-ended public discussions as the module for our poignant movement. Through the medium of literature, music, public forum and etc., we explored the issue of human rights as the start and expanded our analysis and examination to the issues such as environmental protection and farmers’ rights. The practice of Taichung Wild Strawberries proved the possibility that an open, rational and peaceful discussion can still exist in Taiwan.
It has been almost 500 hours on November 9 since the Taichung Wild Strawberries started the sit-in; nevertheless, the government authority had not shown any gesture to face the issue actively nor given any positive responses. Furthermore, the treacherous milieu of politicking also raised questions on the long term strategy of the future development of our movement. We have come to face a new historic crossroad of whether we continue the sit-in to exhaust our energy or we stand up to create new territory.
We with the Taichung Wild Strawberries think that the sit-in action needs to transform so we are able to march to a new stage. We believe that it is more effective to go into the campus and reach out to more people rather than staying in the Citizens Square and talking to the same people to mutually strengthening our belief. We will create a broader dialogue space through networking, assembly and discussions to generate resonant echoes.
With the precious memory of the warmth and peace at the Citizens Square, we have also come to realize the questions and challenges ahead when we resolved to this action of outreach to the campuses and communities. Still, we are not afraid or even withdrawn because we are ready. Only by taking this action can we review, improve, break through and revitalize the movement. We want to emphasize that the switch from the sit-in at the Citizens Square to the outreach action does not mean the end of the Taichung Wild Strawberries movement. We seek for the transformation of campaign to carry on our mission. In the future, we will continue our campaign and activities on various campuses and staging soap-box interactive campaign to continue our dialogue and exchanges with the citizens in Taichung at the Citizens Square from time to time.
──「Wild Strawberries Movement 2008」All sit-in students in Taichung, November 28th 2008
29 Nov 2008
Not forbid? Disagree? As the top academic university, NTU should reveal the attidtue towards student movement
Today’s demonstration has been a success; however obtaining the demonstration clearance from the university was far less a smooth ride, as the student who was responsible for the application revealed, the university authorities had been highly alerted by the application and numerous phone calls were made, inquiring the number of demonstrators and attempts were made to interfered with the preparation for the demonstration. The abnormal and excessive inquires were stressful and the students of the Wild Strawberries movement felt pressured by the university. The university officials initially attempted to demoralize the students by spreading unofficial words around the campus, alleging the number of attending NTU students to the demonstration to be less than a handful. Combating the rumors, numerous NTU students on Friday gathered around the symbolic site, the Fu Bell that represents enlightenment at the university and proclaims “we are here today to send a strong message to the Academic Affairs Officer, that the numbers of NTU students that are supportive of the Wild Strawberries Movements are far more than what the University has anticipated.”The university authority was initially reluctant to approve the demonstration, stating “even though we would not comment on the demonstration, it does not mean we approve it” the final approval came the day before the demonstration.
NTU in the past has been the lead advocate on social movements, but the university officials’ bureaucratic mindsets seems to contradict with the university cultural where the fundamental social values such as human rights, democracy and promotion of the wellbeing of civil society are being treasured and hold in the highest regard. Students are disappointed with NTU's leadership in the cause of preserving basic human rights. The conservative, ambivalent attitudes displayed by NTU officials exposed the hypocrisy within the organization, for example, the recent denouncement by the NTU President over the alleged graft trial of the former President Chen Shui Bien, while completely overlooked the unacceptable behavior and the arrogance of President Ma and Premier Liou. This, lead us to question: why the double standards?
The students also questioned, whether the university authority has felt political pressures from above, as the KMT legislator Tsai, Zheng-yuan (蔡正元) once publicly urged the University to crack down those participated in The Movement, the university has displayed an abnormal interest on the Wild Strawberries movement as compared to other campus events. The Wild Strawberries, hereby, challenge legislator Tsai to come and face the students to engage in scholarly debates over the alleged allegations, rather than hiding in the Legislative Yuan where the proclamations made are neither verified nor true. The students also openly urging the university to step out with the students, and to resist political pressure it has been subjected to in the last few days.
1.) Joseph Stalin, Communist, Soviet Union, 1929-1953, 42,672,000
2.) Mao Tse-tung, Communist, China, 1923-1976, 37,828,000
3.) Adolf Hitler, Fascist, Germany, 1933-1945, 20,946,000
4.) Chiang Kai-shek, Militarist/Fascist, China, 1921-1948, 10,214,000
The few thousand or ten thousand he killed in Taiwan could not really help him to get a better rank. Hitler was just one number to big for him. But at least Chiang –Kai – shek could die peacefully and wealthy, knowing his son would do a good job.
He receives congratulations in every local Memorial Hall (but he dislikes Democracy Memorial Halls).
Modeled on the format of the Chinese-language newspaper the Apple Daily, Black Jack’s Mango Daily published articles that promoted pro-Taiwan ideas and often made fun of pan-blue politicians. It soon gained popularity, with 2,000 to 3,000 visitors a day on average, Black Jack said. (more)
28 Nov 2008
While those attending a public hearing yesterday on the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) agreed that reforms were necessary, government officials, legal activists, academics and lawmakers still held different views on whether clauses on restricted areas, the police’s power to disband demonstrations and the penalties on people who violate the law should be removed.“It’s necessary to mark some areas as off limits for demonstrations to maintain the security of government offices,” National Chengchi University law professor Su Yung-chin (蘇永欽) told the public hearing held by the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee.(more)
As Master Yoda said:
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/11/28/2003429730 (correct link)
While people finally demonstrate against the parade and assembly law (years to late), they should recognize military instructors in schools and universities as a much bigger danger for democracy.
I visited a number of Schools and universities in my life. None of them needed any military instructors to guarantee safety on campus. I did not even know that safety in a school or University is something to worry about.
Actually in the countries I went to school and University a military instructor would be considered to be a mayor security risk and a danger for freedom and democracy.
Why a military instructor has any qualifications in counselling seems to be a hidden secrete. Usually people would hire a PhD in Psychology for such a difficult job.
So why are this guys needed? What purpose do they full fill and who controls them? Who controls the army in general?
There can only one constitution and one law in a country and its army must be under this system and not beside or above.
The first principle in a modern army in a democratic country must be to safe and honour this democracy.
Drill and discipline is necessary to make an army able to operate, but someone should not understand it as a training just to blindly follow commands (that would be fascism), but as a training to make responsible decisions under pressure, responsible in the light of ethics and constitution.
Military instructors are the opposite of what is needed. They make the society a part of the army.
In a democracy the army must be part of the society. So civil instructors would be needed in the army to teach soldiers and especially young officers the fundaments of a democratic society and the ethics they need to make decisions in a responsible way. These instructors should be independent of political influence, for example a priest or a monk or a professor of law or history or politics, …
To abolish military instructors immediately is a conditio sine qua non for a country that is even thinking about to use the word democracy to describe its political system.
As there are rumours that military instructors work as spies for the government to collect information’s about students active in the protests, it might be the time for a counter strike and photograph and identify the military instructors, as they are one of the main enemies of democracy.
They must be named to be banished.
26 Nov 2008
‘We, the people.’ These are the first words of the constitution of the United States of America. We the people in the 21st century have given us a democratic communication structure called the Web 2.0.
The Web is representing the opinions of millions of bloggers and is used by hundreds of millions of visitors. The Web is forming a community stronger than every national government. The Web is writing the history of the future.(more)
It has Become traditional for the annual year-end conference of the signatories to the UN Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol to be accompanied by parades, concerts and other activities worldwide to raise public awareness.This year, the activities in Taiwan are scheduled for Dec. 6 and organizers include the Green Party Taiwan and the Taiwan Environmental Action Network (台灣環境行動網), among many others.
Unfortunately, when we applied for a permit to demonstrate, the Taipei City Government complicated the matter, while police intervened in an event promoting the activities. (more)
Graham Watson, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, told members of the Taiwan press that although the principle of rule of law should be revered, "there should also be a rule of civility." (more)
25 Nov 2008
After starting a petition to protest against government violence and support the sit-in students, the Taiwanese academia, along with groups such as the Judicial Reform Foundation and the Wild Strawberries Movement, delivered a petition and complaint to the Control Yuan regarding the illegal acts and abuse of power by the police and national security agencies during Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan.
The petition calls for the Control Yuan to investigate and take legal action against the (1) National Security Council and its Secretary-General Su Chi; (2) National Security Bureau and its Director Tsai Chao-ming; as well as (3) National Police Agency and its Director-General Wang Cho-chiun. The petition enumerates examples of illegal state power abuse during Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan, including road blocks at airports, in the streets, and along the sidewalks exceeding necessary and appropriate parameters; forced entry of Sunrise Records without probable cause or a warrant; false arrest and injury of a documentary maker in the vicinity of the Grand Hotel.
The petition also provides the Control Yuan supporting evidence in the form of video clips, photographs, medical reports, recordings, and police reports. NGOs will also conduct an independent investigation to shed light on recent events.
Former Grand Justice Su Chun-hsiung, Academia Sinica Research Fellow Chu Hei-yuan, and Chang Chin-hua of National Taiwan University’s School of Journalism pointed out that the Control Yuan has the responsibility and obligation to follow protocols, conduct a fair and transparent investigation, and censure individuals who abused authority and power.
Control Yuan members Huang Huang-hsiung and Liu Hsing-shan jointly accepted the petition. Mr. Huang will be responsible for the case and has promised to conclude the investigation and deliver results within three months.
The Wild Strawberries Movement agrees with and supports efforts by the academia and organizations such as the Judicial Reform Foundation to seek solutions to state power abuse through formal and established means. However, we will also continue grassroots efforts to urge related agencies to conduct similar investigations.
* many thanks to A-Kai for the press conference transcript
24 Nov 2008
By Flora Wang STAFF REPORTER Monday, Nov 24, 2008, Page 3
Members of the Wild Strawberries Student Movement lie on the ground yesterday at the Liberty Square in front of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall in Taipei to depict the wounded and dead as part of their mock memorial service for human rights.
Wearing white head coverings and face masks, a few dozen protesters gathered at Liberty Square, carrying placards that read “Freedom of speech” and “Free from violence” and offering their “condolences” to rights they said have been trampled by the government.
The memorial service “symbolizes our sadness toward [the government’s] violations of human rights during [Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman] Chen Yunlin’s [陳雲林] stay in Taiwan,” said Lo Shih-hsiang (羅士翔), a spokesman for the movement.
The students began their silent sit-in on Nov. 6 to protest what they called excessive police force against demonstrators who opposed Chen’s visit between Nov. 3 and Nov 7.
After police removed the students from outside the Executive Yuan, they moved their demonstration to the square on Nov. 7.
The group has continued its demonstrations at the square every day, calling for immediate amendments to the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) to scrap regulations requiring police approval for demonstrations.
The students had sent out “notices of death” of the nation’s human rights to politicians across party lines, including President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and to National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明). Only Tsai attended the mock funeral.
When approached by reporters, Tsai said she wanted to encourage the students, but that she did not want their demonstration to be labeled as an activity organized by the pan-green camp.
Speaking on the assembly law, Tsai said the former DPP administration “failed to pay enough attention or push for amending or abolishing the Assembly and Parade Law. We feel very sorry.”
The students also expressed opposition yesterday to a requirement by the Ministry of Justice that schools nationwide recruit personnel to implement government ethics policies.
The ministry sent formal notices to all government branches asking schools, government agencies and state-run enterprises to recruit the personnel.
The move drew widespread criticism across party lines, with many legislators calling the measure reminiscent of the Martial Law era, when all schools had human resource units in charge of spying on public servants and reporting back to the ministry.
The DPP caucus said the ministry’s requirement may violate the 1992 Act Governing the Establishment of the Government Employee Ethics Units and Officers (政風機構人員設置條例), which says the legislature, local councils, military agencies and public schools do not need to establish such units.
"The students of the Wild Strawberry Student Movement are worried that schools ... will be threatened by the White Terror again,”the students said in a press release.
On Protest and Human Rights from abe on Vimeo.
A parade held on 21st November for human rights.
A brief transcription on Mr. Jiang's talk (a Taiwanese lawyer in the States):
On Nov. 20th, the mayor of L.A. apologized publicly for the police violation when Mexican protested against the new Immigration Law last year. The amount of compensatory that police officers beat people, including the journalist and people, during the protest is approx. 13,000,000USD. How about us?
Read more on
L.A. to pay nearly $13 million over May Day melee, sources say
The settlement would mark one of the largest payouts ever made to resolve LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) misconduct. Department has sanctioned officers and trained force to prevent another such incident.
By Joel Rubin
November 20, 2008
[Movement Statement in French] Contre les violences policières ! Défendons la Liberté et les Droits de l’Homme !
D’après la couverture médiatique, nous nous sommes rendu compte de la gravité de la situation. Il ne s’agit plus d’une question technique de l’application de la loi, ou encore d’un différend entre les partisans de divers partis politiques. Ceci est la généralisation de la violence étatique, qui provoque et attaque la société civile. Tous ces actes d’oppression, qui ignorent les Droits de l’Homme et les valeurs démocratiques, rappellent l’époque de la loi martiale. A tel point que même des députés de la majorité ont exprimé leur inquiétude à ce sujet au Yuan exécutif (gouvernement), cependant que Mr Liu (premier ministre) a esquivé toutes responsabilités avec des excuses des plus minces. Nous sommes choqués et outrés de cette réponse, tout autant que consternés et humiliés.
Nous devons alors nous demander : est-ce que l’augmentation des échanges entre les rives du Détroit nécessitent que Taiwan doive rabaisser sa conception de la liberté et de la démocratie, jusqu'à atteindre le niveau du pouvoir répressif et autoritaire chinois ?
En quelques jours seulement, la démocratie libérale pour laquelle Taïwan a durement lutté, s’est pratiquement effondrée au travers de la présence policière massive en ville, et de l’atmosphère de peur et de répression qu’elle implique. Derrière ses barricades policières, le gouvernement reste aveuglé par l’illusion de cette « rencontre historique » et se fourvoie en réceptions et autres banquets. Pendant ce temps, les droits des citoyens concernant la liberté d’expression et la liberté de mouvement, pourtant garantis constitutionnellement, sont mis de côté et même oubliés.
Comme la plupart de leurs actions ne sont pas constitutionnelles, il n’est pas surprenant qu’il n’y ait pas eu un seul policier capable de définir clairement face à la caméra quelle loi les habilite à suivre les ordres de leurs supérieurs. Les agents de police sont supposés être chargés de la protection de la population. Mais à cause d’ordres venant de leur hiérarchie, ils se sont transformés en gangsters qui réprimandent et empêche le peuple d’exprimer son opinion. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de blâmer individuellement les policiers qui ne peuvent qu’obéir aux ordres de leurs supérieurs. En revanche, nous demandons solennellement aux hautes autorités du gouvernement d’assumer leur part de responsabilité pour ces abus.
Nous sommes un simple groupe de professeurs, étudiants, animateurs culturels et citoyens qui est concerné par l’état de désordre actuel de Taïwan et son développement futur.
Le 6 Novembre, à 11H, sans aucune aide ou mobilisation d’un quelconque parti politique ou groupe civique, nous nous réunirons devant la porte du Yuan exécutif (gouvernement) vêtus de noir et de masques afin de signifier notre désaccord profond, et nous nous tiendrons la main jusqu’à ce que nos revendications aboutissent. Nos revendications sont les suivantes :
1) Le président Ma Ying-Jeou et le premier ministre Liu Chao-Shiuan doivent s’excuser publiquement auprès de tous les citoyens.
2) Le directeur général de l’Agence Nationale de Police Wang Cho-Chiun et le directeur du Bureau National de la Sécurité doivent démissionner
3) Le Yuan législatif (assemblée) doit revoir rapidement la loi sur les manifestations et rassemblements qui actuellement restreint les droits du peuple.
23 Nov 2008
Wild Strawberries Update
When: 2008-11-23 7:30p.m.
Where: Chia-yi 228 Park
You are invited to come to care, to share, to discuss!
A video clip with music and photo for your reference:
Introduction to Mr. Cheng Nan-jung and the foundation
In March 1984, he founded Freedom Era Weekly, and declared that "[it was] fighting for 100 percent freedom of speech." Cheng Nan-jung had registered 18 different magazine licenses, as "spare tires" for use when the KMT banned the magazine and suspended publication. He said "I'm not scared of arrest nor of being killed, basically, I'll fight them to the very end."
In 1989, Cheng was charged with insurrection for printing a new Constitution for the Republic of Taiwan. An arrest warrant was issued. He refused to appear in court. When the police arrived to arrest him on April 7, he committed suicide by self-immolation. He set fire to the building and died in the blaze. His immolation protest against the Kuomintang was covered by Formosa TV.
22 Nov 2008
Open letter to
* President Ma Ying-jeou
* Premier Liu Chao-hsuan
* Republic of China – Taiwan
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is writing to you to express its deep concern regarding the detention and attacks against citizens protesting peacefully during the visit of Chinese envoy Mr. CHEN Yunlin. FIDH believes that such arrests and violence are grave violations of human rights, under the pretext of national security.
According to the information received, since November 3rd, 2008, the city of Taipei has been heavily occupied by more than 7,000 police officers. The authorities have taken many drastic measures, including: confiscating and damaging private property, harassing and assaulting people who came too close to undefined or vaguely defined areas, clearing communal highway lanes with force, conducting random searches and arrests, and restricting the freedom of movement of citizens. These actions have been taken during Mr. CHEN’s visit, in the name of protecting security.
However, we fear these aggressions in fact aim at suppressing the right to freedom of expression of citizens. To supplement this violence, there are also unprecedented restrictions which clearly overpass the limits of ensuring security. For example, citizens have been restricted from displaying or carrying the national flag of Taiwan, forbidden to declare that “Taiwan is not part of China”, forbidden from carrying filming devices, and restricted from playing any music the authorities consider inappropriate.
These measures seem to be aimed at silencing political opinions rather than protecting security, and thus they blatantly violate the Constitution of Taiwan, notably Articles 11 and 14 which protect freedom of expression and international human rights standards. Consequently, FIDH requests that the National Police Agency and National Security Bureau, bound by the Constitution and the national legislation, should be held responsible for violating their legal obligations. The Judicial Yuan and Control Yuan should immediately conduct independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and hold all personnel in office accountable for neglecting their civil and legal obligations, in line with the Judicial Yuan’s recent statement that “it is very important to form an objective and solid review standard, and make the constitutional reviews more predictable and trust-worthy to people”. Those who perpetrated these violations, particularly in the National Police Agency and National Security Bureau, must be held accountable, in accordance with Article 24 of the Constitution of Taiwan, which stipulates that “Any public employee who, in violation of law, infringes upon the freedom or right of any person shall, in addition to being subject to disciplinary punishment in accordance with law, be liable to criminal and civil action. The victim may, in accordance with law, claim damages from the State for any injury sustained therefrom.”
More generally, FIDH calls upon the government to amend the Parade and Assembly Law, in particular : to abolish the requirement for mandatory permits and adopt the system of voluntary basis and the clause on special area of restriction, which gives too much discretion to the authority to restrict people’s freedom of association and freedom of expression. In addition the authorities should abolish the order to dismiss as well as the provisions on special criminal punishment, which is a legacy of the martial law era. Finally, Taiwan should establish the protocol for law enforcement personnel who should have the obligation to clearly announce his or her identity when on duty, to ensure legitimacy and accountability.
Our Organization firmly believes that the fruit of Taiwan’s remarkable democratization has landmark significance to the Asian continent as a whole. We therefore express our serious concern over the alarming human rights degradation in Taiwan, and we do take it as a signal of a negative trend undermining the values of democracy and human rights on which Taiwan should be based. Hoping that you will take into consideration the above mentioned concerns, I remain,
* FIDH President
Original page: http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article6006
The old order in China was the imperial system and the philosophy of Confucius representing the state of mind of an ancient feudal state.
After the revolution Sun Yat-sen, tried to install a new order, based on the three principles of the people. Heavily influenced by his experience in Europe and North America, he wanted to install a multinational, socialistic, power separated constitutional democracy. To fit this system into a Chinese environment he chooses to adopt parts of the imperial system and of the philosophy of Confucius.
When Chiang Kai-shek, installed his dictatorship, officially the three principles were still the ideology of the Republic, but in fact only the imperial system and a rest of Confucius survived this process. He and his party became the new Emperors.
From Sun Yat-sen’s new order, the Republic of China has developed to a country were political philosophy is reduced to some: be quite, don’t think, follow your political leaders, teachers, parents, …. And of course work harder statements.
Has someone counted how many times, the KMT, leading Government officials or conservative journalists have used the term: work harder? Has someone compared it with the number of use of words like democracy or human rights?
I want to finish with linking some articles about Taiwan’s state of mind and the Strawberry movement in the Taipei Times (which is because of its cooperation with the British Guardian the most European of Taiwan’s Newspapers):
EDITORIAL: Ma should amend the assembly law
The dire straits of Taiwanese democracy
Student movements go high-tech
For instance, the NPA investigation did not take into account the perspective of Sunrise Records. Owners stated that they did not voluntarily close the store and the store was in fact, forcibly shut down by the police. To add insult to injury, the responsible police department chief placed the blame on the owners instead of apologizing for closing a privately owned business. It is apparent that this investigation has not been conducted in a thorough or candid manner, and the NPA remains unapologetic towards the heavy-handed tactics which lacked legal basis; such an attitude has unfortunately compromised Taiwanese citizens’ confidence in law enforcement.
Moreover, the government has avoided providing any legal grounds for the recent controversial and heightened “public security maintenance measures” (e.g. balloon-flying in Chientan, forced entry of occupied hotel rooms at the Grand Hotel, destruction of national flags carried by private citizens, security checks of civilians and reporters near the Grand Hotel, blockage of the Chung-shan Bridge, confiscation of national flags outside of Taiwan Cement building, the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei Hotel incident, the forcible shutdown of Sunrise Records, and the police-civilian clashes near the Grand Hotel). Thus far, there has been insufficient explanation regarding whether law enforcement officers followed administrative procedures and no direct response to whether law enforcement tactics were indeed excessive.
Most importantly, the objective of the review was focused on whether the Chinese delegation was properly attended to (rather than whether citizens were fairly treated) and how to award/reprimand officers accordingly. As public servants, their blatant disregard for the welfare of citizens is simply unacceptable, especially in a democratic society. As such, we strongly urge the police and national security agencies to discuss the legality of their actions during Chen’s visit and re-examine apparent excessive law enforcement tactics. Perhaps a closer reexamination will allow the officials to finally understand the reasons behind the anger of Taiwanese citizens.
The Wild Strawberries re-emphasize that cases of power abuse during the heightened security period were not dispersed, isolated incidents. The prevalence of excessive tactics we have observed clearly suggests that high-level commanding officers were inept in formulating appropriate security measures and entirely disregarded fundamental human rights. Without a coherent strategy, junior law enforcement officers were unable to effectively and reasonably maintain public security, resulting in unfortunate (and oftentimes reluctant on the part of the junior officers) clashes with civilians. Once again, we call on the police and national security officials to reexamine the legality of their recent actions instead of punishing junior officers. The ability to admit to and accept responsibility for one’s mistakes is not only an act of bravery, but appropriate for a political appointee in a democratic society.
Translated from http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post_3483.html
21 Nov 2008
Watch 抗議警察暴力！捍衛自由人權！發起人李明璁老師談話 in News Online | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Mistrust and Violence in Taiwanese Society: Three Stories
Ming-Tsung Lee's speech in 1107, Freedom Square.
Lee is an associate professor in Dept. of Sociology, NTU
Freedom Square (2008/11/07): Ming-Tsung Lee, the initiator of the sit-in action in the Freedom Square for protesting the violence of the Police in 6th of November, talked about his experience in three little stories happened around the very first hours of the activity.
As the coordinator of the action, Ming-Tsung Lee got various threatening calls and sms, whether anonymous or not, from the very first moment the action initiated. “You’re nothing but an assist professor,” said one of the callers, "and I'm the professor. Do you still want to get promoted?” Ming-Tsung Lee is now an assistance professor in the Department of Sociology, NTU.
The police exerted violent to the sit-in students by their verbal humiliation. When the sit-in-students carried away by the policemen to where no media shoot, the policemen told the students “Stop acting. No one is shooting you. Just walk away by yourself."
These verbal humiliations made the student feel hurt, because it was the mistrustful response from the police to the good will which the student had showed in the past 20 hours. The students gave the policemen drinks, chat with them, and even gave them the lily flowers sent by the supporting people.
Ming-Tsung Lee would also like to protest for the distort reported by TVBS news. What the student showed to the police is good will, not the support as TVBS said.
Ming-Tsung Lee was applied physical violent by the policemen while being carried away from the square of Administration Yuan. He was pinched, kicked (to his private), and hit. In this video, he restated the three appeals, that are, President Ma and Premier Liu APOLOGIZE, Wang and Tsai STEP DOWN, and AMEND The Parade and Assembly Law.
These stories expressed the foundation of the reciprocal trust is destroyed in the Taiwanese society, and Ming-Tsung Lee thinks it is the government who should be responsible for.
Protest in Liberty Square, Taipei:
• Apart from large rally, number of sit-in protest students remains consistent throughout the week, few in the dawn, significant more protesters joint after noon, peaked around 30-40 in late afternoon, based on these figures, The Movement has estimated that about 70 sit-in protesters are involved in weekday. The Movement attributed the declining number of sit-in protesters to cold weather and approaching mid-term exam for university students.
• The Movement has started organizing contact information of those involves in the protest, networking various civil societies, non -government organizations (NGO) and different sectors of society, with long-term objective of broadening Wild Strawberries’ appeal to the society at large.
• The issue of poor communication between sit-in student protesters and the Movement Headquarter has been resolved through the liaison conference held on 8th November, which clarified the chain of commands and updating the feed-back mechanism.
• Certain quarters of Society have expressed their interest in join the protest. The Movement decides that the protest will remain student only for the time being.
Protest in other cities
• Rotating-shift works quite well.
• Not enough student-protesters participating.
• Not enough student-protesters, daily protester number remain single digit.
• Protesters high in spirit, confident that they can last all the way into mid-December
• Threatened by the police for expressing anti-Ma (President) sentiments. Outlook for Kasohsiung protest remain pessimistic
Eastern Taiwan Protest:
• Under preparation
All regional protests are operational, though some difficulties have surfaced in the week, naming insufficient protesters and police interventions. No central command exists currently in Wild Strawberries Movement, all regional protest are organized in free association with Taipei protest, local protest can be organize and dissolve without the consent of Taipei protest organizer, it is imperative that, if the local leadership do wish to discontinue their protests, they shall consider possible affect on the morality of entire Wild Strawberries Movement. The Movement organizer here in Taipei hereby, urging those intent to discontinue protest, do consult with other regional and Taipei protest organizers first, so that ripple-effect can be avoid, morality be maintain, and best cause of action can be devise for the sake of movement.
• Academics are extremely enthusiastic about the causes of Wild Strawberries Movement; Seminars have been organized for protest students by university academic staff on diverse topics. The academics also held public lectures to educate the general public.
Non-Government Organization (NGO):
• Enthusiastic supporters from the beginning, providing both logistic and morale support to The Movement. Future co-operation on certain topics with The Movement have been identified. The Movement are grateful for NGOs’ support in resources, Public Relations expertise and expert advices by Professional NGOs.
Arts and Culture Community:
• Late comer, but no less then others in enthusiasm, organized and provided entertaining yet informative event last weekend. National Taipei Art University has announced its support for The Movement.
• Provides both moral and logistic support, through some skirmish occurred in Taipei Protest between public supporting students and pro-government extremists. The decision on general public’s participation in actual sit-in protest is still under discussion.
Executive branch of Government:
• The cabinet (The Executive Yuan) refused to admit the excess uses of violence against protesters during the week of Chinese Envoy’s visit; the cabinet praises the police action as “appropriate” and “Lawful”. The Ma administration shows no intention to neither negotiate nor respond to The Movement’s Twelve Demands. Furthermore, the ruling KMT party has pleaded its support to Ma’s stance; it is fear that with KMT’s majority in the assembly, amending the Law of Assemble and Parade would be extremely difficult.
• The Ma administration has refused to dismiss the two high officials whom the protesters have named and blamed for the violence, instead, as said by Ma, no apology would be offer, and no dismissal would be made.
• In light of Ma administration’s indifferences to protests’ plights, The Movement must re-consider it’s strategy in forcing the Government into negotiation, it is abundantly clear that the Ma administration will not dismiss culprits for the violence, will not apologize for the atrocities committed, and certainly no genuine will to amend the much derided Law of Assemble and Parade. Without extracting single concession from Government, The Movement is at risk of losing popular support and momentum.
Legislative branch of Government:
• Both DPP and KMT caucus have proposed their amendment of Law of Assemble and Parade, although the KMT version is far less satisfactory then those demanded by The Movement. Further, the KMT has mobilized its majority in the assembly to delay the public hearing date for the proposed amendments, hoping that the delay would wether public’s support and The Movement’s resolve.
• Media attentions have largely shift to the trial of former president Chen, Shui-Bien. The media also attempt to portray the Movement as pro-DPP fringe group, hence, politicising actions of Wild Strawberries. It is also noted, that rather then focuses on the plights of the Movement, the media prefer to report on the minor incidents, such as skirmish between supporting public and pro-government extremists, while ignoring original three demands put forwards by the students.
The Movement must refocus and re-energize in face of un-friendly media, government that want to neither negotiate nor respond, legislature that delayed amendment hearing through procedural means. New methods in forcing the Government into the negotiation table must be devise, Different demands for changes in the Law of Assemble and Parade from myriad NGOs must be consolidated in single, cohesive policy that can garners supports from the populace, safeguards basic human rights, reconcile the freedom of expression and needs in maintaining social cohesion.
New directives regarding the future action and organization of The Movement will be discuss in the coming days, The Movement will also propose its own version of amendment to the Law of Assemble and Parade in near future after consultations with students, NGOs, and Professional groups. Comments and thoughts about The Movement’s version of amendment are welcome, Suggestions in how to mobilize popular supports for this particular amendment is much appreciated.
Last and not least, in the spirit of democracy, Regional Protest Organizers are welcome in participating the decision making process of The Movement, any thoughts, comments, suggestions, are always appreciate here in Taipei.
When the president of our country sells out the people’s basic civil rights, hurts the citizens’ fundamental human dignity, and disregards our voices, what’s left is the empty shell devoid of soul.
Tonight, artist Lily Wei, along with students of Wild Strawberries Movement warmed up for the participatory art event by lying on the ground and tracing the body contours of one another. There are now many human shapes in various positions drawn in chalk on Liberty Square. Lily Wei expresses: ‘Anyone who cares about human rights and liberty in Taiwan are welcome to join in the art in action’. You are invited to experience the pulse and heartbeats of one another together tomorrow afternoon, and to listen to the thundering outcries of the empty human figures.
Where: Liberty Square (the former Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall).
When: Sunday November 23, 2008. 1:45 pm
What: Art in Action
Who: You and all those who care about the liberty of Taiwan.
Come, lie down with us on the ground to be part of the casualty of stolen autonomy.
Local citizens and international friends are welcome!
Participants please bring your masks, hats, and sunglasses. And a camera if you like!
Please wear black, grey or white if possible as symbol of mourning.
The Art Mobilize Taiwan Initiative
Full Text and picture, please click The Free Dictionary
We shall not forget!
Press Release from International Federation of Journalist
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges Taiwan's National Police Agency (NPA) to stop asking media personnel for information about protesters at a recent public demonstration.
According to the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), an IFJ affiliate, members of the Taiwan police have reportedly asked media workers to provide photographs of demonstrators who participated in the "Yellow Ribbon Siege" protest against a meeting between Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chen Yunlin on November 16. The protest was reportedly organised by the Democratic Progressive Political Party.
The ATJ said there were concerns that police would seek to pressure photojournalists who refused the request for information by approaching their employers.
"The police have put the reporters in grave danger by demanding that they rat on their interviewees," ATJ president Leon Chuang said.
On November 18, Leon Chuang and several reporters requested a meeting with NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chun to resolve the issue, but the request was declined.
"The duty of a journalist is to report the truth and to protect his or her sources. Journalists must not be compelled to act as agents to collect information on behalf of government authorities. Police interference of this kind places freedom of the independent press in jeopardy," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
"The IFJ urges Taiwan's authorities to respect press freedom and ensure that they do not compromise journalists' integrity. All media outlets are also urged to defend press freedom and refrain from handing over photographs."
Increasing police pressure on Taiwan's media has been reported since early November. An independent documentary film-maker was detained by police while she was filming Chen in a hotel on November 4.. In a separate incident, a television reporter was assaulted by police who reportedly mistook him for a protester during the November 16 rally.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide
Free: Germany, France, Benelux, U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Scandinavian countries,.../1/1
Free: Japan, South Korea /1/2
| ? Is Taiwan going upward?
Free: TAIWAN /2/1
| ? Or downward?
Partly Free: Hong Kong (China) /5/2
Partly Free: Singapore /5/4
Not Free: China /7/6
Not Free: North Korea, Tibet /7/7
Data from Map of Freedom, Freedom House, Washington
Report on Taiwan (2008)
Political Rights Score: 2
Civil Liberties Score: 1
Taiwan’s political elite became embroiled in a series of corruption scandals in 2007 that tarnished the reputation of leading figures in both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT). Meanwhile, in the run-up to the 2008 legislative and presidential elections, cross-strait relations and the issue of “Taiwan identity” took center stage, much to the alarm of officials in both Beijing and Washington. (Read Details)
November 20, 2008
Freedom House urges Taiwan's government to create an independent commission to thoroughly investigate clashes between police and activists protesting Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin's historic visit and recommend needed reforms.
"A public investigation of the violence—which involved both sides—will send a critical message that the new government of President Ma Ying-jeou is interested in upholding the democratic values of transparency and accountability," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. "The inquiry should examine evidence on both sides and recommend any needed reforms to police practices and the legal framework governing demonstrations."
Hundreds of university students are currently staging a sit-in in Taipei's Freedom Square and several other cities to protest the government's handling of the incident. During Chen’s visit, police reportedly used heavy-handed tactics—including physical assault, arbitrary detention and destruction of property—to prevent Chen from seeing symbols of Taiwanese or Tibetan independence, as well as broader demonstrations against the Chinese regime. Demonstrators also employed violence against police, throwing rocks and petrol bombs outside Chen's hotel on November 6.
The clashes reveal a need for police to undergo crowd control training that adheres to the standards used in other democracies. Likewise, demonstrators and political advocacy groups must recommit themselves to orderly protests that avoid violence under any circumstances.
The inquiry commission should examine controversial passages in Taiwan's Assembly and Parade Law, such as restrictions on where people are allowed to demonstrate, and determine whether they need to be liberalized to protect citizens' rights to freedom of expression and assembly. The commission should also investigate claims that police are selectively enforcing the law.
The visit by Chen, the most senior Chinese official to visit Taiwan since it split from China in 1949, and the recent arrests of several opposition party figures are raising concerns that that President Ma and his Kuomintang Party may rollback democratic freedoms.
"The government must renew its commitment to tolerating robust freedom of assembly and peaceful protest, no matter what the cause," said Windsor.
Taiwan is ranked Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and in the 2008 version of Freedom of the Press. (Original page)
Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Taiwan since 1972.
20 Nov 2008
Rethinking Taiwan's democratization in light of the European experience
--Speech on the occasion of Europe Day 2005
National Youth Commission minister
Except that some immature lawmakers could not agree to give the people one of the human rights, the right of freedom of assembly. And they were not even able to simply take one of many law examples from more developed democratic countries all over the world.
19 Nov 2008
The Wild Strawberries question the statements President Ma made few days ago. What did he imply about the “registration system”? Is it compulsory or voluntary? Or is it that President Ma cannot distinguish between these two completely different systems?
The Wild Strawberries Movement cannot accept the revision. Initially, all the revisions proposed by KMT legislators Chu Feng-tz (朱鳳芝) and Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), as well as members of the DPP, were aimed at a voluntary registration system, but these were dropped from the final revisions. The Wild Strawberries urge both parties to support a voluntary registration system.
The Internal Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan will draw up modifications of the Parade and Assembly Law on November 19th. In order to supervise the Legislative Yuan’s procedures, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights will hold a large assembly at 8:45 am tomorrow in front of Legislative Yuan (No.1, Chungshan S. Rd). They intend to besiege the Legislative Yuan, and make a detour each hour. Further, there will be a farewell ceremony for the Assembly and Parade Law on 10 o’clock. The activity is expected to be held for at least half, if not the whole day, and the students involved in the Wild Strawberries Movement will come out to support this activity.
The Wild Strawberries want to stress that they never raise funds outside of Liberty Square (自由廣場), for there have been individuals going around Taipei raising money pretending to be Wild Strawberries. Please do not give money to anyone outside of the Liberty Square Demonstration.
Thursday, Feb 21, 2008, Page 8
The US is reportedly continuing to put strong pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and even both parties' presidential candidates in the hope of stopping both the DPP's referendum on applying for UN membership as a new member under the name "Taiwan," and the KMT's referendum on returning to the UN under any practical name.
The two referendums have already harmed cross-strait relations and lead to a new low point in US-Taiwan relations. It is time for the DPP and KMT to reconsider. The two parties should negotiate and then let the legislature come up with a new referendum proposal to replace the proposals now before us.
The new proposal could ask: "Based on every person's human right to participate in international cooperation through their government, and the UN's principle of universality established on this right, do you agree that the UN should not exclude Taiwan?"
The main difference between this proposal and the two proposed referendums is the actor. In the DPP and KMT versions, the actor is Taiwan; in the new proposal, it's the UN. Through such wording, the Taiwanese could clearly tell the international community that the UN should not exclude Taiwan.
Some might ask what the logic is in holding a referendum about the actions of the UN? But if Taiwan wants to be a member of the world body, it not only needs to apply for membership, the UN also has to agree to let Taiwan in. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has said that even if a referendum on UN membership passes, it does not mean that Taiwan will be granted membership. (Full Text)
Several pro-localization activists led by the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) continued their hunger strike in front of the legislature yesterday.
Wearing black T-shirts with the slogans “Taiwan is my country” and “Love Made in Taiwan,” the protesters are demanding an amendment to the Referendum Law (公投法).
The law, enacted by the Chinese Nationalist Party-dominated (KMT) legislature in 2003, stipulates that the number of signatures required for a referendum proposal to be reviewed is 0.5 percent of the voters who participated in the most recent presidential election — or approximately 80,000 individuals — with an additional 5 percent signatures from the population needed for a referendum to be held.
The law has long been criticized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a “bird cage” law. The DPP has made several attempts to have the law amended over the past several years, but its proposals never clear the legislative floor.
The protesters began the hunger strike after participating in the opposition rally on Ketagalan Boulevard on Saturday. They have remained in front of the legislature since, with posters written in Chinese, Japanese and English demanding an amendment to the Referendum Law.
“I’m protesting against the Legislative Yuan by staging a hunger strike,” TAUP chairman Tsai Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said. “I will stay here until the law is amended.”
Tsai called for changes to the high thresholds stipulated in the law for a referendum to be passed.
A participant at the hunger strike surnamed Chueh (闕) said that everyone in Taiwan should stand up and oppose the KMT administration’s pro-China policy, saying it was “a matter of life and death.” (Original Page)
Photos on Flickr
[On-going social activity] [TAUP hunger strike sit-in] appeal to the governent to amend the referendum law
Thanks for your attention and patience on Wild Strawberries Movement for days. In fact, there are a group of profs. from Taiwan Association of University Professors who have been sitting in the Quen-Xian Building (群賢樓) in Legislative Yuan for 15 days too. They request the Yuan to revise and modify the referendum law. Referendum: noun [C] (FORMAL plebiscite) a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give their opinion about or decide an important political or social question. (Cambridge Dictionary)
I would like to draw you attention on this on-going social activity which is relevant to the revolution should be done in Taiwan as well. If you only want to know about the Wild Strawberries Movement, please feel free to skip this section. However, if you care about Taiwan, this is a good chance to have a further look. Furthermore, the headquarter of Wild Strawberries Movement is so far still very focusing on our three requests. Therefore, This section is only appeared on this blog.
Thanks for your understanding! Hope I inform you sufficiently! Same as the founding of our movement, I also need some volunteers to help with collecting and translating relevant articles on on-going social activities. Please write to email@example.com
Best to you and to Taiwan,
People remember, there is a constitution:
The president feels suddenly the need of a free press:
Journalists demand this right:
Do I hear justice?
Are there more miracles to expect if the protests continue?
Of course, there are still some of the old moral lessons, which encourage young people to work hard and become a good slave for lets call it THE SYSTEM (oh, actually that is the part they usually do not tell the people):
But listen to the Wind of change, the song of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
If someone has further comments on the human right of health-care and medical treatment, he or she shall feel free to speak.
The health system speaks for itself!
18 Nov 2008
Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008, Page 8
More than 20 years after the lifting of martial law, we find ourselves in an era exploding with information and ruled by the logic of business.
The younger generation has never experienced a war, but may have experienced the tail end of authoritarian rule. When they were little, they might have heard their parents say: “If you don’t behave, I’ll call the police and have you arrested.”
They now chat on the Internet, absorb knowledge from online forums and flirt with the opposite sex using text messages. The younger generation has also been given a nasty label by arrogant adults — the “strawberry generation” — because of their alleged inability to deal with pressure.
Perhaps no one has considered that behind the “geek” label and the indifference lies a silent protest against a society with too many opinions; the unwillingness to endure hardship could also be a rebellion against the paternal attitudes of society as a whole.
Nobody expected that during the visit of Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) the government would resort to heavy-handed police tactics to disperse demonstrators and then refuse to take responsibility for police excesses. This vindicates our concern: The specter of authoritarian rule has come back to life.
On Nov. 9, student demonstrators at the gate to Liberty Square in front of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall initiated the “Wild Strawberries Movement,” a name that was arrived at through a democratic voting process on the medium they know best: the Internet.
As the movement formed, CTI-TV broadcast exclusive footage of families of police officers writing a letter to Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), calling on her to ask the students to go home.
I don’t know if CTI was playing dumb, if it had failed to investigate the matter or if it was a simple case of audience manipulation, but the station viewed the students as a motley group of rebels that would dance to the tune of a particular political party. Even now they think the strawberry generation is so vulnerable that it is easily divided. (Full Text)
I am not here to represent as I do not represent and as I do not want to represent!
The beginning of every democratic process is discussion.
Some people misunderstand that politics need a leader to follow (or lets him call Führer or Duce) and democracy is if you choose your leader. That is not democracy. That is dictatorship.
I want to discuss as I think discussion is necessary and I want to help people with this, contributing ideas to this process.
So I will not speak for Taiwan as I can not speak for Taiwan, but I will explain you why I consider Taiwan not to be a full democracy.
First of all I want to define what I understand under a Democracy.
Democracy in a literal translation from ancient Greek means power of the people (δήμος [démos], people and κρατία [kratía], power).
Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system.
I don’t want to talk about all the junior high school knowledge about election systems in ancient Greek cities, but go on to a modern interpretation of democracy.
My definition of democracy is a constitutional state based on Montesquieus ideas of separation of power.
In the interpretation of Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès which is the basis of modern theory of constitution, we have to distinguish between pouvoir constituant and pouvoir constitué, the sovereignty in a power separated constitutional state and the souverenity to of the people to give themselves a constitution. All state authority is derived from the people. The people are the sovereign of a democracy.
The basic principle of separation of power was de jure installed by Sun Yes-men in form of a Yuan system in the Republic of China (so we can not blame him for its fail).
There exists a constitution and in principle elections were part of this system.
De facto this system was not existing at least since the Republic of Chinas authority is restricted to Taiwan as there was is no distinction between the powers and no independent control of them in a one party state or in a military dictatorship as it was under the rule of Chiang Kai-shek.
With the occupation of Taiwan by the Republic of China the law was expanded to an area where it never got any legitimating. The authority of the state was not derived from the people who lived in this country! This situation continued for decades, until the end of the, martial law and the first ‘free’ presidential elections.
I think the step from a dictatorship to democracy needs an initial singularity in a countries history, an hour zero.
This might be a revolution (like in France) or a lost war (like in Germany).
Taiwan’s development to ‘democracy’ was a top – bottom approach. The leading party of the one party system reacted on the pressure of the people, but did not fundamentally change the system.
How many of the laws from the old time were never changed?
How many of the people in charge, responsible for the misery of so many families never lost their position?
Was there a Taiwanese Nurnberg trial, to charge the ones responsible for death and detention of thousands of Taiwanese during the dictatorship?
Didn’t the KMT still control many of the positions in the administration?
Wasn’t the KMT the richest party in the world, with a multi billion-dollar asset and ownership of companies in sensible areas like the mass media?
Isn’t the KMT still controlling direct or indirect most of the media in Taiwan?
Isn’t the national anthem still singing about the party who ruled the country alone once?
Isn’t it true that in Taiwanese TV, little girls can still sing about Chiang Kai-shek, who is in the rest of the world considered to be one of the little brothers of Hitler, Stalin and Mao?
What about the dignity of his victims? How is Taiwan honouring them?
Who is bowing to their families?
Aren’t people very creative in calling massacres or dictatorship incident or white terror?
There are so so many other questions, people should start to ask.
If you say, that you think most people in Taiwan feel that they are a free and democratic country, I will answer you with a quote:
‘She can talk beautifully about democracy. But she does not know how to live democracy.’
It is a famous quote by the former first lady of he United States Eleanor Roosevelt about Taiwan’s former first lady Soong May-ling.
The she could be lady Taiwan too.
If you ask many Taiwanese students about what democracy is, you will have almost no chance to get a proper answer. You cannot even get a correct definition and I am not talking about interpretations.
How can a country be a democracy, if even the best-educated persons in this country do not know what it is?
But how could they know? Who told them? How much time in their education is spent on it? Do they learn about the theory of constitutions? Do they learn about constitutional models in different times and countries? Do they learn about the political system, about the role of separated powers, about the importance of the press and about the role of political parties in a parliamentary system, …
This is what students at other places learn in high school! You should expect University students to know about this.
What about the media? Isn’t it the role of the press in a democracy to inform and educate the people in the spirit of the constitution? Isn’t the freedom of press a mayor human right that should be the basis for every constitution?
There is more or less no press qualified to fulfil this idea in Taiwan. The quality is a shame for an industrial nation and a mayor part is controlled direct or indirect by the KMT.
The people of Taiwan lack the maturity and the education as to understand their own political situation as a result of decades of government controlled and manipulated information.
It is the responsibility of a countries students and academics, to fight against this situation and to install a democratic constitutional state and a free society.
The revision of the Parade and Assembly Law will be an example how this can be done successfully and might be the beginning of a revision of the whole Taiwanese law and its parts made in a dark time in history
What are the people of Taiwan? Everything. What have they been hitherto in the political order? Nothing. What do they desire? To be something.
In inspiration of Sieyès ‘Qu’est-ce que le tiers état?’
1° Qu'est-ce que le tiers état ? Tout.
2° Qu'a-t-il été jusqu'à présent dans l’ordre politique ? Rien.
3° Que demande-t-il ? À y devenir quelque chose.
17 Nov 2008
[11/16] President Ma, please immediately put into action your support for amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law!
First, President Ma pointed out that for the past eight years, he supported amending the Parade and Assembly Law under which event organizers are obliged to obtain police permission before holding rallies, to enable an application-only process. We ask the President to immediately put into action his support.
Second, President Ma said that even under current regulations, 99.2% of applications are approved, which does not differ substantially from systems where approval is unnecessary. However, who are those 0.8 percent of people prohibited from demonstration? Who is authorized to decide whether to approve certain events or not? In reality, .08% is an underestimation, since many disadvantaged groups are unable to gain approval due to the practical difficulties of application.
Third, President Ma claimed that even though he supports the amendment to the Parade and Assembly Law, after the conflicts during the visit of Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), public attitudes toward the issue have become more conservative. Thus, Ma said that now the public consensus on this issue should be considered. However, we want to ask on what evidence the Presidents claim that “public attitudes have become more conservative” is based. In addition, we believe that this issue has become a focus of public attention. Given all this, the Legislative Yuan should have an official mechanism to channel the public consensus into legislative action, rather than having citizen attendance at meetings that offer no substantive engagement with the citizenry.
Finally, President Ma said that he will invite the sit-in students to participate in the discussion held by the Legislative Yuan on the amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law. We appreciate the President’s response, but we have not received an official invitation from the Legislative Yuan. We hope that under the conditions of equality and mutual trust, we will participate as citizens and have the right to a voice in the meeting.