11 Nov 2008

[Live] 21:50 Nov. 11

In the Taipei spot, students are discussing for a clearer and more specific declaration on our appeals. That is, more details and agreement should come out and spare some time to discuss with students in other cities too. Hopefully, tomorrow at noon, there could be a latest statement.
In which way we could reach our goal, not to amend the law superficially, but deeply enhance the human rights and civil rights in Taiwan is the question students are discussing about.

[Taichung] Officiers from Taichung City Hall heckled the students (NOV 10)

Mr. Wang, the head of Division of Construction in Taichung City Hall went to the Taichung spot of the movement. Instead of applied the Parade and Assembly Law which students are appealing to amend, Mr. Wang claimed that students movement is illegal because of the violation of the Park and Greenland Law and relevant law.

[Supporting Action] Vigil in Solidarity Support the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement Safeguard Our Beloved Taiwan


We thought that authoritarian regime is long gone.
We thought that freedom of speech had become part of our life.
But we are wrong....

Freedom and democracy--hard to attain, easy to be crushed. Over the past half a century, many have sacrificed their freedom, their youth, even their dear lives for the attainment of these rights. However, in this past week, we have witnessed the return of authoritarian regime, with its relentless and unnecessary suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. In order to "welcome" Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林), the special envoy from China, those peaceful protestors who were waving national flags, banners, singing protest songs or calling out loud their appeals, were brutally "served" by the police force with fists, kicks and sticks.

The whole society was shocked by such regression of democracy and freedom of speech. Civic groups began to organize themselves. University students began to take actions to defend freedom of speech.

Sit-in protest by the students started in front of the Executive Yuan on the evening of November 6. Three days later, on November 9, students formed the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement. Their main appeal was that our democracy is in peril and the critical issues at stake are: the Parade and Assembly Law violates the Constitutional; and human rights have been infringed upon. They have demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-hsuan (劉兆玄) should apologize; that the Director of the National Security Bureau Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) and the National Police Agency­Director-­General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) should step down and that the Parade and Assembly Law be amended.

In support of the cause pursued by the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement, civic groups decided to initiate a vigil walk around the Liberty Square every evening from six to seven pm starting from November 11. The organizer(s) would like to call for people from all circles of society to participate in this civic movement to Support the "Wild Strawberries" and Safeguard Our Beloved Taiwan. As Jiang Wei-Shui (蔣渭水), a pioneer in Taiwan's democratic movement, said, "Our strength has its roots in our solidarity." To preserve our hard-won achievements in democracy in Taiwan, we must demonstrate the will and strength of civil society, condemn the use of state violence and defend the freedom of speech.

We look forward to your participation in Vigil in Solidarity, and we request your attention to the following information:

Vigil in Solidarity
Time: 6.00-7.00pm everyday
Gathering Point: in front of the "Wild Strawberry" camp in Liberty Square
Cause of the Vigil Walk: Support the "Wild Strawberries" Student Movement, Safeguard Our Beloved Taiwan
Do's and Don'ts: The vigil walk should proceed in single file in silence. No food, no calling of slogans and no banners; only signs prepared by the vigil walk's organizer are allowed.

The vigil walk is initiated by the following civic groups:

Evil Assembly and Parade Act Modification Association (集遊惡法修法聯盟), Taiwan Association for Human Right (台灣人權促進會), Judicial Reform Foundation (民間司法改革基金會), Humanistic Education Foundation (人本教育基金會), Taiwan Labor Front (台灣勞工陣線), Taiwan Environmental Action Network (台灣環境行動網協會), Amnesty International Taiwan Section (國際特赦組織台灣總會), Taiwan Law Society (台灣法學會), Green Party (綠黨), Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (台灣環境保護聯盟), Awakening Foundation (婦女新知基金會), Campaign for Media Reform (媒體改造學社), Aborigine Rights Association (原住民權益策進會), Green Formosa Front (綠色陣線協會), Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (廢除死刑推動聯盟).

The original article with Mandarin and English is in http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post_11.html

Protestiert Gegen Polizeibrutalitaet!! Verteidigt Freiheit und Menschenrecht. (Statment in German)

Angefangen am 3. November, mit dem Besuch von Chen Yunlin, hat die Polizei zahlreiche Aktionen gegen Demonstranten durchgeführt, darunter die Beschlagnahmung und Zerstoerung von Eigentum, physische Gewalt, und sogar Verhaftungen. Die große Mehrheit der betroffenen Demonstranten befand sich nicht einmal in der Nähe von Chen Yunlin.

Durch Berichte in den Medien haben wir den Ernst der Situation erkannt. Es geht nicht nur um Details bei der Strafverfolgung, noch handelt es sich einfach um einen Konflikt zwischen Anhaengern verschiedener politischer Parteien. Es geht vielmehr um Polizeigewalt, die vom Staat gefördert wird und die die Zivilgesellschaft beschaedigt.

Alle diese Aktionen, die Menschenrechte und demokratische Werte ignorieren, erinnern an das Kriegsrecht. Aber der Premier Liu weicht seiner Verantwortung mit unklaren Entschuldigungen aus. Diese Reaktionen der Regierung empören und beschaemen uns.

Wir fragen uns: Muss Taiwan seine Standards bei Freiheit und Demokratie bis auf das Niveau von China senken, um mit China wirtschaftlich kooperieren zu können?

Innerhalb weniger Tage sind Freiheit und Demokratie, für die die Taiwanesen so hart gekaempft haben, durch die Polizeiaktionen ernsthaft beschaedigt worden. Unsere Regierung ignoriert dies und veranstaltet stattdessen Empfaenge und Bankette für den Gast aus China.

Wir sind eine Gruppe von Universitaetsprofessoren, Studenten, und Bürgern, die sich Sorgen um die zukünftige Entwicklung Taiwans machen. Unser Protest ist überparteilich und unabhaengig von anderen politischen Organisationen.

Wir werden weiter friedlich demonstrieren, bis unsere Forderungen erfüllt werden. Unsere Forderungen sind:

Präident Ma Ying-Jeou und Premierminister Liu Chao-Shiuan müssen sich öffentlich bei allen Bürgern für die Vorkommnisse entschuldigen.

Der Generaldirektor der nationalen Polizei, Wang Cho-Chiun, und der Direktor der Staatssicherheitsbehörde, Tsai Chao-Ming, müssen zurücktreten.

Das Parlament muss das Versammlungsgesetz, das die Versammlungsfreiheit der Menschen einschränkt, revidieren.

翻譯. chiaokovsky

[Support]The Declaration of Taiwan Friends of Tibet for Supporting the Wild Berries Movement

November, 10th, 2008

With regard to the statement of “Wild Berries” action (野草莓運動) and the continuing sit-in protest which current college students originated, Taiwan Friends of Tibet (台灣圖博之友會) expresses our honor and support. We believe that the civic literacy showed by these young college students has already established a new representative of their generation after the Martial Law era.

When Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan on November 3rd to 7th, 2008, the Taiwan government led by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) blocked the expression of different opinions by the Taiwanese people and dispersed Taiwanese people out of public zones near the visiting ARATS delegation via forceful police power and violent illegal actions. Those actions seriously destroyed the civil rights protected by the Taiwan Constitution (the Constitution of the Republic of China). In addition, during this event, the Tibetans in Taiwan and the Taiwanese people who supported Tibet Independence were improperly suppressed. Particularly, part of the media emphasized transmitting “warm” scenes of Taiwan government officials visiting injured Taiwan police officers. Unavoidably, this one-sided conveyance evoked images of how the media, controlled or manipulated by the China government, reported the Tibet event of March, 14th, 2008.

At the end of November, the Congress of the government of Tibet in exile (圖博流亡國會) will convene an enlarged conference and enable Tibetans to publicly determine future policies of Tibet. We worry that when Tibetans are still able to establish democracy in exile, Taiwanese people in thriving Taiwan confront the regression of Taiwan’s democracy. Therefore, we advocate that people of all walks of life intently focus not on how the event concerning the oppression of civil rights will only be interpreted by the dichotomy of KMT(blue party,國民黨) and DPP(green party,民進黨), but whether this event will make Taiwan return to authoritarian regime. If the Taiwanese people give the Taiwan government authority to limit the rights to freedom of speech to only specific issues or persons, the democracy in Taiwan will be placed in jeopardy. In particular, this important issue concerning the civil rights involves the fate of the whole of Taiwan. Hence, the Taiwanese people should have sufficient space for expressing their concerns. Moreover, at this very moment, to protest against and restrain the Taiwan government’s unconstitutional act is the Taiwanese people’s right and even, duty.

As regards the three appeals in the “Wild Berries” action statement on November 8th, 2008, Taiwan Friends of Tibet completely support them. It has been obviously illegal for the Taiwan government to excessively restrict the civil right of freedom of speech and the government should not shift its responsibility onto others with any excuse. As a result, Taiwan Friends of Tibet considers that two of these appeals as follow are the minimum of claims: (1) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) must publicly apologize to all citizens, and (2) National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) must step down. Furthermore, our association even more strongly supports the third appeal, amending the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) in Taiwan. We believe that to assemble and parade is Taiwanese people’s fundamental right and a significant mechanism of democracy. However, current Assembly and Parade Law may give administrative organizations too much power to determine and control, so Taiwan Friends of Tibet stands for amending it as soon as possible.

Ultimately, Taiwan Friends of Tibet strongly requests that the Control Yuan (監察院) and other justice units in Taiwan, according to their authorities and the trust and anticipation of the Taiwanese people, actively investigate cases relevant to illegal actions of administrative organizations and the political responsibilities and liabilities of related government officials.

Translated by Shuo-I Hsu from the original statement posted in http://action1106.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post_10.html

BREAKING NEWS !!! A guy burning himself in Liberty Square Now

Students protesting in Freedom Square witness a horrible scene that a guy lights up a huge fire to burn himself.

Happening now as of 1105 PM, 11/10, 2008:


I was stunned too, 'cos I was watching it happening far away from USA through the online live cam set up by the protesting students.

Ambulances arrived right away. Don't know the condition yet. The guy is 80 year old long time KMT member. Flyers were distributed before he burnt himself. He was very disappointed on how Ma Ying-jeou trashed the Republic of China flag, the symbol of something he was taught by KMT to loyal to in his entire life, in order to please the Communist China, the enemy he was taught by KMT to fight against in his whole life.

Trickery politician, ironic history, distorted belief, resulting in a tragic life.

This tragedy interrupted the protest procedure. Students call for peaceful resolve for any opinion expression.

  1. The suicide note distributed by Bo-Yian Liu (劉伯煙) before he burnt himself:

    My translation:

    My name is Bo-Yian Liu(劉伯煙), 80 years old. I joined KMT in 1950, and has been cheated and insulted by KMT for 30 years, until I couldn't stand it any more and retired. I am not sure how President (Ma Ying-jeou) thinks about what happened lately. I saw people walking on the street with small national flag were arrested by the police, and the flagpole was broken by the police. I saw many policemen beat up people without being punished. I heard that the police arrested 16 civilians and is gonna indict them. Are more than a thousand policemen who beat up civilians with rods gonna be given outstanding awards ?

    When Chen Yunlin met up the President (Ma Ying-jeou), he pointed his finger at President and said, "You, you, you...", and I saw President was so happy and responded with a smile on his face. Is the name of our President "You-you-you?" Being a KMT member, I am so shame of myself -- does that mean if Mainland sent an even higher ranking official, our President will knee down to him?

    I saw that President is so unfair. It would be better if President issues an amnesty to dismiss all things, that would make it peaceful, and will show how kind and general a President has.

  2. A member in the medical team of protesting students accompanied Mr. Liu to the hospital. He returned to the scene about one and half hr later. Mr. Liu suffers 3rd burn on 80~90 % of his body, but is stabilized now.

  3. Students describe that Mr.Liu was in the scene this morning. He looked very upset. Students invited him to sit and tried to calm him down. He did. Then later, he seemed to get upset again and walked out of the tent. The unfortunate tragedy then happened.

    A student described that their guy on duty in the morning took away two gas bottles from Mr.Liu. But this doesn't seem to be confirmed by a later description.


[Support] Should Ma apologise? My two cents by Chan Mao-Guei

Author:Chan Mao-Guei (張茂桂) 台大社會系
Time: 2008/11/9 12pm

The students involved in the sit-in protest demanded for Ma Ying-Jeou(馬英九) and Liou Chao-Shuau(劉兆玄)'s apology due to the law enforcement's blatant violation of human rights during Chen Yu-Lin(陳雲林)'s visit in Taiwan, students also demanded for the Chief of Police and head of National Security Bureau to step down, also amend parts of the Parade and Assembly law(集會遊行法) which restricted citizen's right to voice their opinion freely.

Should Ma and Liou apologise? why is it need to be done? Is it absolutely necessary?

Students' sit-in when compared with DPP's recent protest departs in both action and demand; students' demand and sit-in protest's legality is sound, via civil disobedience method to try and establish a discussion and protest against human rights issues. Their action showed us modern Taiwanese society's basic values and what a democratic society means to us. Where as protests held by DPP were held with prolonged periods of time, however the voices and participants comes from a wider spectrum, even with a uniform chant it was not easy to have a cohesive, concise singular voice. Sometimes due to some individuals unable to differentiate violent protest and personal heroism their action were lead to misinterpretation, more often than not leads to society's condemn.

On the other hand, police is a nation's monopolistic physical force, it is to serve and protect it's citizen's lawful rights, also forms the final force for the government to govern and to utilise to control opposition forces. Thus, when the police is carrying out it's duty in any manner, whether it's using body armor in public, carrying batons, using containments, changing formation or monitoring, no matter legally or philosophically speaking, the police forces should only be used to aggressively protect citizen's lawful rights, and to safeguard society's benefit. At the same time, those opposing citizens should still be protected by constitution and the human rights clauses set out by it. It is sometimes possible for a nation's to utilise this power and avoid responsibilities, for example during times of national crisis or emergency or if attacked by foreign power. However it will easily stir up controversy if this force is used to prevent or safeguard before any emergency or crisis emerges. This is due to the fact declaring martial law is one sided arbitrary power dictated by the government, where abuse of power and violation of human rights most likely to occur. For example, a nation is able to pretentiously announce that it is in a special emergency state, and very quickly citizen's rights diminishes and opposition forces faces elimination. Taiwan had been under martial law for 40 years, we should strive to understand and fear the consequences of the possible implications of the recent issues.

The events which happened today mostly belonged to the "prevention" camp. When Chen's convoy arrived, in great many places questions were asked "When a nation's exercising it's forces on it's citizen, is it appropriate to display such overt amount of forces?" Is the government abusing it's power by "preventing a pressing eventuality"? Many I feel may be confused by what had happened or even angry. The community formed Judicial Reform Foundation's human rights lawyer agreed too, and have pressed charges. Even Liou Chou-Shuan(劉兆玄) and Liao Liou-Yi(廖了以) were pressed to say there was "room for improvement". However, if it's only the law-enforcing technicality that were examined, then it's mostly unnecessary, for that's not where the fundamental issue lies, even giving the police a basic lesson on human rights would be more meaningful. What's most important is the collateral politic responsibilities. Who gave the police the authority, with what judgment to allow for such overt operation? Simply speaking, if we are still a democratic country, then for the government to violate opposition's rights in both physical and speech is most detrimental to the values of a democracy. Thus the question today, would be examine political responsibility of those involved. If we can not see the seriousness of the issue today, inflicted damage will reach far beyond damages caused to the image of our nation or to cross strait relationship and it will be our society's justice, human rights and equality that bore the wound. One of the out comes, would be after 30 years of democratic rule in Taiwan, will once again go back to binary conflict between foreign ruling power and people, a real step back to democracy.

Unfortunately, due to DPP's bloodshed protest, some members of the public refrained to examine the issue at hand, as they do not understand or unable to face the political responsibilities and with knee-jerk reaction initiated series of unintelligent comments. So what if the students were encouraged or used by opposition party(which we know are not true)? So what if they were influenced by Wild Lily movement(野百合學運)'s participant? So what if students did not condemn DPP's violent protesters? So what if the teachers involved have obvious political preference? So what if students interrupted Hsueh Hsiang-chuan(薛香川)? So what if students did not comply with the Parade and Assembly law and applied for an protest 7 days before the event? So what?

We're not saying these are invalid questions, the result of discussion may even influence our opinions on the appropriateness of this sit-in protest. However, when compared with Ma and Liou's willingness to be a "good host" to Chen Yu-Lin's visit to Taiwan which led to inappropriately abuse of police force, the damage this action caused to the value of democracy is easily greater. Obviously we should not be misled by political commentator's opinion and questions to avoid examining the responsibility of this political conflict's abuse of power. When Hsueh appeared to "get to know" the students, he infamously said "Politics is short-lived" such irony! Because the issue at hand today, is the maintenance of a basic pillar of democracy, human rights issue under constitution, this is of a grave matter spanning across all parties, presidents, crass strait meetings, even across racial class issues. As long as constitution and nation which depends upon it exists, all it's citizens must obey and follow it, that is modern Taiwan's core value.

Lastly, we go back to the question whether Ma should apologise. Last time when Ma apologised it was quite an memorable event. Along with Wu Po-Hsiung(吳伯雄) and several KMT's high level officials, all of them bowed 90 degrees several times, at least 7 or 8 times, he even fired those involved. Such humility made everyone believed his sincerity. The event was later referred to as "4 little pigs" Legislators who during high-strung tension election hours went to the opposition camps' building alone to provoke reaction. Compared with "4 little pigs" wouldn't the issue with current political responsibility linking with the given event be even more appropriate to apologise? We would like to remind President Ma during his 20th of May inauguration vowed to obey and defend Constitution of Republic of China, and in his speed swore to be president of every Taiwanese. Now, if the police under the government's layers of guidance, using the interest of nation and preventing eventualities as excuses to violate basic human rights which are protected by constitution, thus broken president Ma's own inauguration speech and his political promise, should he apologise? And being the Republic of China's highest chief of Administration should he apologise as well? Should the Intelligence and Police force's head step down as well? Isn't the answer clear enough with pages taken from Civil Society class 101?

Learning Democracy Lessons

An interesting article about the police violence and what politicians think about it: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/11/11/2003428280

Some funny statements:

Liao and Wang denied police had deliberately confiscated Republic of China (ROC) flags.
“It had nothing to do with the flag — it had more to do with whether the people were standing in a restricted area or what they were trying to do,” Wang said.

Mhm, that means that all the international observers and all the media around the world were lying to us. Thanks Mr. Wang for finally telling the world the truth!

“The Police Duties Enforcement Law [警察職權行使法] stipulates that when executing an order, police officers should take the measure that causes the least damage to people’s legal rights,” Chiu said.

They way I thought it should be is that the police should NOT CAUSE ANY DAMAGE to people’s legal rights, but instead DEFEND peoples rights.

People blame now the president, the directors of police, or security bureau to be responsible, but is this really true? Are they really the root of all evil?

Someone might ask why did all this police officers follow the commands, if it seems to be clear that actions were against the laws or even against the constitution?
It should be the responsibility of any police officer in a democracy to check if a command is legal and appropriate to the situation! If not, he has to deny the command and get all possible support by superior commanders for this decision.
But: Do they know what democracy is? Do they know about the constitution? Do they know about freedom of speech?
Do they learn how to defend the constitution and the human rights or do they learn how to follow commands?

It is not enough to call for a new assembly and parade law. Nothing will really change. The way people in the government and the police think has to change. And this can only be done by changing the way policeman are educated and trained.

Maybe even the education in school has to be changed. How many hours are spent in a Taiwanese high school per semester on learning about democracy, human rights, the constitution in Taiwan in comparison to other countries constitutions, the political systems in different countries in the world, the political parties in Taiwan and their history, organization and election campaigns, … ???
I am talking about learning and discussing things, not about remembering facts for some examination to be graded. This issue will be examined and graded in life.

If you read the article, you know this people got good grades in school but did not learn their lesson.