14 Nov 2008

[Rationale] Why the National Security Bureau Director and National Police Agency Director-General Must Take Responsibility - A Tribute to the Police

Since the 6th of November 2008, students and professors across the nation joined an unplanned sit-in demonstration. The catalyst for this unplanned sit-in was the blatant excessive law enforcement tactics during the Chinese envoy visit which clearly threatened the basic rights of Taiwanese citizens. Later that evening, we were saddened by the news that the Democratic Progressive Party’s “Siege” protest activities resulted in violent clashes. Regardless of acts committed by law enforcement or the protesters, we do not believe that violence is the answer. Since the inception of the Wild Strawberries Movement, we have always maintained a peaceful, rational, and non-violent manner. On the 7th of November 2008, law enforcement officers surrounded us and dragged every single student and professor at this peaceful sit-in onto a police transport. Many students observed the reluctance (and at times tearful) displayed by police officers. As we relocated to Liberty Square with the intention to stage a long-term sit-in, we are grateful for these officers for allowing and assisting us to continue this sit-in peacefully. That said, it remains our duty to condemn and reject any illegal acts of violence, whether it be committed by the police or citizens.

Some have questioned us since "Police is only doing their job, why the continuing condemnation?", thus the Wild Strawberries participants would like to take this opportunity to pay tributes and a heart felt thanks to our hardworking front line police. If it weren't for them, it would be quite impossible to have a stable, peaceful life. However with acknowledging the above, we still demonstrated, we insisted to protest in the Liberty Square. Why is that so?

Because we are confused. Confused about during Chen's visit, police have hurt the ones they should be protecting. We're confused by police's action when Chen Yu-Ching(陳育青) was recording the Chinese envoy with his own personal video recorder; He was questioned upon by the police, and even brought back to the police station against his will, his personal freedom was restrained until the arrival of a local representative. We're confused when a record store playing a piece of music would induce the police to ban it from playing, even led to involuntarily closure of the shop. We're confused because when a guest have arrived, people having different expectations and reactions are only natural to a democratic society; however what would force the police to confiscate the national flag or even Tibetan flag and hording members of the public, restricting their speech and freewill? What kind of policies were involved, to disrupt the harmony which existed between police and ordinary citizen by carrying out orders which clearly violated human rights, subsequently the public were left feeling defeated, jaded with a sense of angst. We are confused, what kind of policy, led to such grotesque outcome?

Wild Strawberries are deeply grateful for our police, they've endured unimaginable pressure for up keeping the order of our society. At the same time to continue and strengthen our foundation as a democratic country, we insists the responsibility of violating human rights due to abusive police power under active investigation. During Chen's visit, undeniably government is to protect the guest's safety with a thorough and sound security measure in place, however a benevolent and capable government should not disregard "basic rights" of it's citizens when carrying out policies. Therefore, we will hold the decision makers of the highest level responsible, at the same time acknowledging the amount of hard-work our police endured while carrying out their duty. The Chief of National Police Agency in charge of organising police, while Director General of National Security Bureau manages guests' safety. Together they planned and managed the police, policies in handling situations and limits of law enforcement. Due to the fact that during the period of Chen's visit, there were numerous accounts of violation of human rights, therefore we do not see ways to treat these events as matter of contingency and thus shifting the responsibilities onto the front line police. Our postulation being that the violation occurred due to government's overall inappropriate planning, and was poorly executed. Hence Wild Strawberries insists the head of both National Security Bureau and National Police Agency to take the responsibility of the violations and step down to revive public trust in police.

Wild Strawberries believe that we should pay our tribute to our police forces, for their untiring service to the nation, from everyday upkeep to enforcement of order during special occasions. At the same time, we strongly protest the police's obvious abuse of their power, since no policy formulation should involve violating human rights. The human rights violations which happened during Chen's visit should not be treated as a random accidental event. We would like to point out the violations which happened were due to absurd planning of the overall security measures. In a mature democratic society, any unreasonable violence should be condemned, at the same time government forces who hold the power given by the people would be wise to consider policies discreetly to avoid restraining citizens' basic rights. The Taiwanese democracy did not fell from the sky, thus we insist the heads of National Police Agency and National Security bureau must resign and apologise for their inaptness.

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