17 Nov 2008

[11/16] President Ma, please immediately put into action your support for amendment to the Assembly and Parade Law!

This morning at the ROC Constitutional Law Association, President Ma made four statements regarding the Assembly and Parade Law. The Wild Strawberries Movement’s responses to these statements are as follows:

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.

2008/11/07 A TV talk show: The Hacker Mr. Chao (CTI TV)

The host and guests on the talk show smear that the students are manipulated by DPP. It is a peculiar phenomenon in Taiwan that this kind of so-called political talk show discusses usually nothing, but evoking and distorting the fact. It seems that they are debating and they could even show some so-called evidence. However, read it on; you will see what I am referring to.

5:19~5:34 Mr. Chao (趙少康): I believe that most of those students support the DPP.

6:00~6:50 Wang Mei-Yu (王美玉): I agree. Unless they mobilized members of DPP, Professor Tin would not bring up the fourth demand.

8:31~10:51 Tang Hsian-Long (唐湘龍): Do not use your status as a political stance even if you are students. The students also stand for a certain political view, as do the teachers serving as leaders. Among those teachers, many are members of Frank
Hsieh's(謝長廷) Army Cockerel(青年軍), who engaged in DPP activities on campuses. I don't mean they took advantage of you; however, you should face your attitudes and viewpoints toward politics honestly. Do not blur the focus of the event through innocence and youth, as if you are too pure to have any political requests.

10:51~11:40 Mr. Chao: Furthermore, I wonder about the motivation of the students. I think it is not so simple, for many of those who were caught today are people who had joined Wild Lilies(野百合) in the past. Third, I think the resistance at noon yesterday was reasonable because of the excessive enforcement of the law by the police few days ago. However, now the students are still there. Do you think Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文), DPP, and the crowd were right in regarding the police as being rude? Can't you make it clear after last night? In my opinion, those who are still sitting there may intend to make trouble.

16:22~18:48 Tang Hsian-Long: It's different from the Wild Lily movement. In the Wild Strawberries the professors directly in front without fear, then the crucial time starts. The leading professors are Fung Yun (范雲), Wu Rei Ren(吳叡人), and Wu Jieh Ming (吳介民). The first was my schoolmate while both of the latter two were my classmates at the university, and their attitudes toward politics are obvious. As a scholar, I think it is fine to stand for any political party. Nevertheless, these scholars should face their consciences with frankness and reveal their political stances. In addition, there is a distinct difference between the student movement now and in the past. In the past, the KMT monopolized the power; therefore we could spontaneously support student movement because we did not consent to one-party rule. But now, in a generation in which democracy has been in operation for a long time, it is unreasonable for students to engage in a political movement just because they disagree with the law. Try to resort to the two parties and be more practical. It makes no sense to organize a resistance like the Wild Lilies. The time is different.

18:49~19:18 Mr.Chao: Frankly speaking, it is their right to sit in Liberty Field(自由廣場). However, what I want to say is that they should state their political stance clearly rather than disguising it by being students, who are regarded as innocent and pure. I believe that the leaders and the main cadre members must advocate for certain party.

19:45~20:06 Mr.Chao: It is evident that they exploit their status as students. People might have sympathy toward students so that they won't be severely punished. Therefore, is it just a simple event? Is it really true that they don't belong to any party? This is my question.

20:11~21:18 Wang Mei-Yu: Taiwan has been localized, so has KMT. We have already elected presidents for four times. It is different from the time when Wild Lilies asked elder congressmen to retire and to abolish Penal Code, 100. In Taiwan, everyone definitely has freedom of speech. People deserve to have the right; it is not the charity Government serve with. As Professor Tin mentioned, this time Chen Yuen Lin (陳雲林) came to Taiwan, people were restricted from playing music, staying in Grand Hotel (圓山飯店). Those events provoke students to have a resistance. However, at 5pm yesterday, all the leaders were gone. Afterward they were regarded as rioters. Then, how do you look upon the responsibility of DPP?

21:18 Mr. Chao: Thus, he won’t show up to explain this time, then what wrong with my doubt toward him?

[Wanted] Join in a Google Group initiated by NATPA/ TAUP

I am experimenting with ways to connect Taiwan-loving people. I
created a google group named i_love_taiwan@googlegroups.com.
Currently, I envision only a few group members can post, while others
can only read. I hope the group to have more than 100,000 members in
a few weeks. The initial member pool comes from NATPA/TAUP (The two Taiwanese Professors associations in Taiwan and the States) members and wild stawberries and their friends and families. One reason it could expand very quickly is that members can invite others by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/i_love_taiwan?hl=en and click on the 'invite members' link. I encourage every Taiwan-loving person to
give the group a try. You can unsubscribe any time for any or no reason. Let us hang together for a better Taiwan.

Initially, I expect this mailing list to be a low traffic list disseminating important information. I will give you frequent updates on the direction the group is taking as it evolves. Each message you receive will include clear instruction as to how you can unsubscribe, or change the way messages are delivered, e.g., instead of receiving a message as it is sent, you can opt for a daily digest, etc. For question, please write Luby Liao at lubyliao@gmail.com

[On CNN][i-report] Observations on Taiwan Political Protests

By Neal Moore

TAIPEI & TUCHENG (CNN i-report) --- I stepped into a Taipei Taxi this morning to try to get a better understanding of the current political scene in Taiwan. What I thought would be an easy task proved to be anything but. (more)

The Rock is moving (A new assembly law for Taiwan)

After days of protest, KMT finally announces a timetable for the discussions about a new assembly law:

- November 19th: A first hearing and general discussion will be hold in the Legislative Yuan
- November 27th: the legislature will solicit opinions from experts and keep the public
informed by holding public hearing

So we can observe that the protests have been successful in the sense that the law will finally be changed.

Now the question is in which way will it be changed?
A change might range from a change of the name to a complete new law reaching western standards.

Hopefully some researchers and students of law will analyse several countries assembly laws to present them in the public hearing.

Some Ideas:

I want to present the German law here, as I am most familiar with it and as for example the Taiwanese civil law (like in Korea and Japan) is based on German civil law (they just forgot the democratic parts).

The Constitution:

First of all there is the Constitution as the last bastion of law. In the German case, the first 19 Articles declare the human rights, which are the basis of all laws.
Most Important in the defence of rights are article 1 and 20, which are unchangeable Articles of the constitution:

Article 1
[Human dignity – Human rights –
Legally binding force of basic rights]
(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be
the duty of all state authority.
(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalien-
able human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice
in the world.
(3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and
the judiciary as directly applicable law.

Article 20
[Constitutional principles – Right of resistance]
(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal
(2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by
the people through elections and other votes and through specific legisla-
tive, executive and judicial bodies.
(3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the execu-
tive and the judiciary by law and justice.
(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abol-
ish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.

Article 79
[Amendment of the Basic Law]
(1) This Basic Law may be amended only by a law expressly amending or
supplementing its text. In the case of an international treaty regarding a
peace settlement, the preparation of a peace settlement, or the phasing out
of an occupation regime, or designed to promote the defence of the Fed-
eral Republic, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of making clear that the
provisions of this Basic Law do not preclude the conclusion and entry into
force of the treaty, to add language to the Basic Law that merely makes this
(2) Any such law shall be carried by two thirds of the Members of the
Bundestag and two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.
(3) Amendments to this Basic Law affecting the division of the Federa-
tion into Länder, their participation on principle in the legislative process,
or the principles laid down in Articles 1 and 20 shall be inadmissible.

Independent of all other laws, these basic laws are always valid.

Assembly Law:

Now we can come to the right of assembly as given by the 8th Article of the Constitution:

Article 8
[Freedom of assembly]
(1) All Germans shall have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed
without prior notification or permission.
(2) In the case of outdoor assemblies, this right may be restricted by or
pursuant to a law.

Restricting Laws:

The concrete laws can forbid groups or organizations to participate in demonstrations:

- Persons because of Article 18 of the constitution:

Article 18
[Forfeiture of basic rights]
Whoever abuses the freedom of expression, in particular the freedom of
the press (paragraph (1) of Article 5), the freedom of teaching (paragraph
(3) of Article 5), the freedom of assembly (Article 8), the freedom of as-
sociation (Article 9), the privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommu-
nications (Article 10), the rights of property (Article 14), or the right of
asylum (Article 16 a) in order to combat the free democratic basic order
shall forfeit these basic rights. This forfeiture and its extent shall be de-
clared by the Federal Constitutional Court.

- Parties, which are forbidden by the Constitutional Court (happened the last of two times in
1954 and is extremely difficult) or persons that support this parties.

- Other forbidden Organizations (after laws and the constitution)


- It is not allowed to have weapons.
- It is not allowed t or uniforms supporting your political opinion.
(It is of course allowed for boy scouts, firemen, …)


- Organized Demonstrations need to be applied 48 hours at the local administration to give
them time to organize traffic and guarantee safety.

- Spontaneous unorganized demonstrations because of an actual reason can be hold without

Prohibition or disbandment of assemblies:

In general: The normal police laws are not valid during an assembly (as it is a constitutional right). Demonstrations can only be disbanded on basis of the assembly law.

Reasons to disband a demonstration might be:

- There is no application for it (spontaneous demonstrations are excluded from this)
- The specifications on the application were faked
- Violation of a legal conditions for the demonstration
- The assembly is forbidden

Reasons to forbid a demonstration:

- Demonstrations at certain historical locations might be forbidden in general
(at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin for example)

- In a small area around the parliament and the constitutional court, demonstrations are only allowed with an exception.

- Danger for public order and security (for example demonstrations of two enemy groups
at the same time and location)

- Glorification of Nazism or violation of the dignity of victims of Nazism

If the application of demonstrations was denied by the administration, the organizers have the right (as it is a mayor restriction of fundamental rights) of an immediate appellation at an administration court.

Because of the special situation, the constitutional court can declare all decisions of administration courts, restricting the freedom of assembly immediately as invalid.


- The constitution declares the right of assembly as a fundamental right.
- Spontaneous demonstrations without application are possible.
- Laws can restrict these rights.
- As a restriction of the right to of freedom of assembly is a mayor intervention of the basic
rights, all the decisions are made or can be changed immediately by the constitutional court.

It would be nice, if other people would post other examples of assembly laws, for example in the US or Canada.

[Protest rationale] Wild Strawberries protest that the Parade and Assembly Law restricts civil rights

Today (Nov. 16th) approximately 10 students were heading to Taipei Main Station in order to spread the banner of our movement. As they ware walking along Ketagalan boulevard (the main road to the Presidential Hall), without holding any signs, and quietly, without shouting out slogans, nearby security officers claimed that they were an illegal gathering and asked them to disperse. Hsu Ren-Suo(許仁碩), the spokesman of the Wild Strawberries stated, "we consider that this case in which our fellow students were dispersed by the police has already severely violated individual freedom of movement which indicates how ridiculous the Parade and Assembly Law is."