12 Nov 2008

Updated movement statement Nov. 12

During the time when the negotiator from China, Chen Yunlin visited Taiwan, there was quite a diversity of viewpoints on the visit, and strong emotions on all sides. Actually this is a normal situation in a mature democratic society. But it happened that a great number of Taiwanese people felt that freedom of speech had been infringed by government officials and the police force. Of course, it is necessary when the state guests visit Taiwan that the government should provide the needed protection for their safety. But the size of the police force exceeded all reasonable bounds. For example, on Nov. 3 afternoon, below the mountain on which the Grand Hotel sits, a person was waving the Tibetan Snow Lion Flag, and the policeman forcibly seized this mans flag and expelled him from the area. On Nov. 4, in front of Grand Hotel, a gentleman named Chen Yunqing was interrogated against his will and then taken back to the police station, which was against his will and infringed his individual rights as a Taiwan citizen. On that same day of Nov. 4, at a music shop located on Chungshan N Rd, the policemen entered the shop and compelled the shop owner to turned off the Taiwanese songs being played and then forced the owner to close the shop. Further, from many other places in and near Taipei many people have delivered the message that their personal rights and freedom of speech were infringed by policemen on different occasions during the Chen Yunlin visit.

During this series of events, we noted the strange situation that when people who were peacefully engaged in the aforementioned activities and were forced by policemen to stop, questioned the policemen about which laws and which regulations prevented them from carrying out peaceful protests, policemen were completely unable to answer. Instead, they could only make very ambiguous statements in reply.

Thus, during the Chen Yunlin visit to Taiwan, draconian enforcement of the law caused the people to become opposed to the government and the police, and became a serious concern of the people of Taiwan. Thus, on Nov. 5, a group of college students and teachers, who are very much concerned that human rights and freedom of speech in Taiwan are being infringed by the government and the police, held a peaceful sit-down protest in many locations across Taiwan, covering the northern, central, and southern parts of the island to make public their concerns about the governments indifference to Taiwan as an independent and sovereign country and to the human rights of the people of Taiwan. On Nov. 6, through the broadcast on the internet of this sit-in campaign, hundreds of students and teachers from different colleges in Taiwan came to join the sit-down protest in front of the Executive Yuan to let the Administration know their worries and concerns about the situation as it is currently unfolding in Taiwan. We all believe that personal rights and values should be beyond infringement by the government, beyond politics, and no matter which political party we support, we should all care about the situation in which the current Taiwan government infringes on individual rights. We further believe that we should make our concerns known to the current government to request their attention to these matters, so it can take the proper actions in responding to the concern and needs of the people of Taiwan. Our this sit-down protest continued for one day, until November 7 at 4:00PM, when the police used their authority to expel us from our location in front of the Executive Yuan.

Based on an earlier group decision, we gathered again at the Taiwan Democracy Memorial, formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, to begin the second state of the sit-ins. We decided not to apply for permission to hold a sit-in from the police, and we decided that this sit-down protest will continue for a long period, until the government makes the proper response to our requests, namely, that individual rights and freedoms should be protected by the government instead of being infringed by it. The reason why we decided not to ask for a permit to hold the protest was because we wanted to highlight the ridiculous situation under which individuals must apply to the government for permission to exercise their individual right to assemble freely and to speak freely. On November 9, again after a decision of the group, we decide to name these protests the “Wild Strawberry Sit-In”「野草莓學運」.

The Wild Strawberry Sit-In Protests have three 3 major demands: First, President Ma and Premier Liu should apologize for the violent actions of the police during protests against the visit of China negotiator Chen Yunlin to Taiwan. Second, the director of National Police Agency, Ministry of the Interior Mr. Wang and Director General of National Security Bureau, Mr. Tsai should take responsibility for the improper actions of the police and resign from their positions. Finally, we demand that the government change the Assembly and Parade Law, a relic of the martial law era often used to curb public protest in Taiwan, to enable the people assemble at any time and place, requiring only notification to the police, not their permission.

The Wild Strawberry Sit-In Protests believe that the government should not use the excuse of a visit by an official of another nation to abuse the power given to them by the people to infringe on individual rights. Further, President Ma and Premier Liu should apologize to the people of Taiwan for the violence committed by policemen during Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan, because as the leaders of the nation, their highest goal is to protect the people of Taiwan, not to infringe their individual rights and physical safety.

Wild Strawberry Sit-Down Protest considers that it is Director of General of National Security and Director of General of National Police Agency, who are planning the whole maintenance of peace this time. So they both should be responsible for the policemen infringe Taiwan people personal right and resign from their public employment.

Wild Strawberry Sit-Down Protest considers that the only way to solve this problem is that government should modify the current parade law from that the people need to do the registration and get approval from the police in advance, if the people want to do such a parade to let people do the parade at anytime and any place, when the people considers it to be necessary.

The Wild Strawberry Sit-In Protest:

  1. Based on our three major demands, we insist on continuing this protest until we receive a positive response from the government.

  2. We insist that the leader of the nation and the heads of the agencies listen to the voice of the people of Taiwan in humility and sincerity, to ensure that all the people of Taiwan can live together in peace and happiness.

  3. Public employees who abuse their power and cause harm to the people of Taiwan should be punished according to the laws and regulations.

  4. We hope that the government will listen to our voice and that the people of Taiwan will continue to support our protest.

Statement from the Musicians

(The appeals are different from the movement, but the ultimate goal is similar!)

On the 4th of November, Sunrise Records store played music as usual to attract customers. However, that was the day when Chen Yun-lin visited. The policemen entered the record store forbade them playing the music merely because it was a song in Minnan-dialect (a.k.a. Taiwanese). The directed policeman, Lee Han-Qin lied to the public that the store closed on their own without any force.

The era of song-forbidden comes back, the expansion of policing power is a prelude of dictator politics that we have come to feared!

We are a group of Taiwanese musicians who treasures freedom and peace. In the past twenty years, citizens have had the right to read poetry written in any languages, to listen to all kinds of music, to compose and to play in different languages including Mandarin Chinese, Formosan languages, Taiwanese, Hakka, and all foreign languages such as English, Japanese, Italian and so on.
We welcome all Chinese visitors who would show respect to the law and people in our country, but we refuse the oppression and hostility from the People's Republic of China's authoritarian regime.We oppose strongly to President Ma Ying-Jeou's submissive attitude to the Chinese communist regime, regarding the events at Sunrise Records store and the crumbling of democratic values due to arrival of Chen Yu-Lin's arrival we solemnly protests. We demand:

1. President Ma must apologize
2. Replace General Chief of National Police Agency Wang
3. Seek responsibilities of Lee Han-chin (李漢卿), deputy director of the Chungcheng First Precinct of the Taipei Municipal Police Bureau

Signatories:(In chronological order)

What those children have taught me? (In Mandarin)

This article moves me so much that I link it here (sorry that it is in Mandarin). It is about how passionate young people learn and grow which can be seen during the movement. And the author addresses tenderly to the public and wish people can start to care about us ("those kids" as the author said), no matter if you are approval or disapproval of the movement or not, at least to pay some attention.
There are some pictures too. Still worth visiting!! http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/by_12.html

Nov 11 Noon Movement Press

Tuesday November 11th 2008
Press Report Wild-strawberry Movement

Dialogue between Student leaders and Minister Breaks Down

NGO today launched walk in silence; supported by tens of thousands by LIVE transmission the student movement is not lonely at the scene

Last night Cheng Jei-cheng visited the scene and stated, the students’ demands should be resolved through the proper channel in order to achieve the objectives more effectively. But as to the demands for apologies from the President and Premier, also the stepping down of the Senior officers from the National Security Council, Cheng said it was not within his authorities. Spokesperson XU Ren-suk believed Minister Cheng’s reply was very conservative, nevertheless still hope Cheng would assist to convey the student’s demands to the government, and have a face-to-face talk with President Ma and Premier Liu.

Around Mid-night last night, three unknown students came to negotiate with the Wide-Strawberry, claiming they were from the Ministry of Education Discipline Committee under the Promotion of Civic Education Advisory Committee, both sides negotiated for around half an hour. The three Committee members expressed the intent to offer a resolution channel through the Ministry of Education. During the discussion, Changi-ho, a Political Science student from the National Taiwan University Political said that the demands of the students has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education, however if it is because the identities of the students, thus assuming the matter falls into the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, would the same as assuming that any one that has an identity of a farmer, the concern would automatically be addressed by the Ministry of Agriculture, and labors’ grieves addressed by the Council of Labor Affairs. Changi-ho thus contented, “today’s demand is about the respect for fundamental human rights and dignity, even though it is coming from students. If the Ministry of Education was sincere in resolving the matter, then the Ministry should pass on the demands to the Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office. Moreover, we were told since we were little, that we should always pursue fairness and justice, Minister Cheng should be more actively supporting the students’ movement” Chang said.

With only Political Calculation in Minds, the meaning of Justice diminishes

According to reports, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan believes the demands for apologies would cease in two days time, and the spokesperson Xu Ren-suk said this is demonstrative of the arrogance of power, and shows that the government has consistently avoiding students demands face on, full of political trickery and calculation. If they are really concern about us, then should make an effect and reply our demand.

Xu Ren-suk further commented, during Chen Yunlin’s visit to Taiwan, the enforcement of law was excessive, and to such an extent that it constituted violations. Since the President and the Premier are given the highest power by the Constitution, then they should issue a public apology since it was committed under their authorities, and the relevant high-level police and the National Security also should be punished.

You Jia Rao, one of the sit-in students, also stressed, that the Ma Government has been continuously releasing ambiguous messages, sending people to mediate informally, without wanting to resolve this matter formally. The Ma Government has paid little attention to the students’ demands, as there is no sense of justice in their minds.

Moreover, as the government has expressed the intent to hold a public hearing on amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law, spokesperson Xu Ren-suk said the students welcome the goodwill, but at the same time, Xu stressed, the students’ demands are not limited to the amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law, since during this period, the government has not been forthcoming about the excessive law enforcement, and even found excuses for the excessive use of force. Hence, the government has not opened a dialogue to engage the students in any talks ay all.

Wang Zhuojun, the Head of National Police Administration when questioned yesterday at the Legislative Yuan, still maintained the policy enforcement was not excessive, and refused to apologize. Lee Li-Wei, a media student believes that, when Shan-yuan Record shop was forced to turn off music, close the shop, and the military policies can force their ways into senators’ private rooms amongst others incidents, shall be deemed as human rights violations, even unconstitutional. But, the government, including the Ma administration, the Administration Yuan, the National Policy Administration, the National Security Bureau, even Taipei City government still defending the excessive law enforcement. It makes one wonder, what mentalities and mind frames can make them so confident? Lee continues to said, it is so hard for a head of a government to apologize for his action?

Translated from http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/1111_11.html

Liou must apologize for his comment and the recent events!!

During an interview, Liou replied legislators asked him to apologise personally in Legislative Yuan "But I didn't, these things only take all of two days to blow over", accidentally let his mind slipped out. Surprisingly, as the highest official of the administrative branch, Liou faced with public outcry on demanding freedom and basic human rights as if a minister under the martial law in the late 80s. We demand Liou to show humility to his public given power and to the people who bestowed it upon him! We demand his apology immediately for his comments! We demand his apology for recent events of police suppressing human rights!

[Reuters] Taiwan man sets himself on fire near protest site

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A 79-year-old Taiwan man set himself on fire Tuesday near a week-old anti-government protest but the reason for his action and his condition were not immediately known, the capital's fire department said. (more)

The Daily of the University of Washington reports about sit-in


Support from Israel

The blog of an Israeli PhD student who spent some time in Taiwan:


[News] Apologise? Liou: Takes all of two days to blow over.

(Liberty Times 11/11/2008)

Wild Strawberries sit-in protest students demanded Ma, Liou to apologise and Wang Cho-Chiun(王卓鈞) to step down. When interevewed by ETToday Liou states that according to the polls 60% of population believe the responsibility lie with the opposition, and the students' demands are "misaligned with mainstream opinion". During intervals between interview, host Lu Hsiu-fang (盧秀芳) asked about legislators wanting government to apologise for the abuse of police power, Liou replied stating legislators had wanted him to apologise personally in Legislative Yuan "But I didn't, these things only take all of two days to blow over", accidentally let his mind slipped out.

Students demands for amending the Parade and Assembly law, Liou states that he acknowledge this, thus will push towards this direction, and will organise public hearings to seek concensus in the community; also the weather's getting cooler and exam period's quickly approaching, further sit-ins are unhealthy and he cares for the students.

Minister of Education arrived at the Freedom Square yesterday, did not respond to students request

In other news, Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) after a meeting with Liou, arrived at Freedom Square around 6pm to visit the protesters. Cheng stated that he will pass the requests along from the students, however he did not respond to the issue of police abusing of their powers, as he openly admit he have no power to make any announcements with "other demands". Cheng was questioned by the students "Why does the minister's visit felt like a gift?", also there was tens of onlookers protests against "Admitting Chinese college degrees" and "Ministry of Education should be more considerate to Taiwanese graduates". Since Cheng arrived without notice, students at first did not recognise him, subsequently had asked who he was.

Cheng said he would like to give his regards on behalf of Liou and Ministry of Education, he hope the students would take care of themselves, and don't catch a cold, and asked whether students had eaten yet. Some students yelled "Thanks for your consideration." As for students' demand, Cheng would like to advise the students the direction legislative yuan's going is quite similar, and he would pass the demands along for the students. He also calls for respecting the current law, as any amendment must go through proper procedures.

A letter to the Financial Times

by Dr. Hung-En Sung, The City University of New York

with remarks on the violation violations of freedoms of speech at the protests during the visit of the Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin:


Ma responds to student protestors

Radio Taiwan International about the student movement:



Francés ???

Castellano ???

500 academics sign support for 'wild strawberry movement'

More than 500 university professors and liberal scholars signed a statement Monday supporting a student-led drive, dubbed the "wild strawberry movement, " aimed at amending the existing Parade and Assembly Law. ...

Sie möchten Teil einer Jugendbewegung sein

Die jungen Taiwaner werden spöttisch Strawberry Generation genannt.

Weil die nach ca. 1980 Geborenen Taiwans Militärdiktatur nicht mehr bewusst erlebt haben, weil viele von Ihnen Freiheit und Wohlstand als selbstverständlich hinnehmen, und weil sie als so empfindliche Sensibelchen gelten wie… nun ja, Erdbeeren nun mal. ...

What can we learn from Obama: Yes we can!

President Obama has already started to govern his country. Actually it is an E – Government.
On www.change.gov he is proposing his ideas for a new America.

Why is there no change.tw? Someone should start a new webpage where people can publish their ideas about how they would like to see Taiwan in 10 years.

By the way: President Obamas advisers for east asia want to come in the end of November to Taiwan to talk with Mr. Ma (respecting his felt acceptable not to be called president).

It is a good chance to show Obama and the world: Taiwan, yes we can!