Free Speech In Taiwan

Taiwanese students in the U.S., trying to share these events in Taiwan with the world.

Some photos of the protest.

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Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 7:28 am

Campaigning Against Police Violence! Safeguarding Freedom and Human Rights!

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The scene in front of the Executive Yuan On November 6th was indeed one to
behold. Over 400 students and professors from different universities,
gathered to show their condemnation of inappropriate police conducts and the
violation of freedom of speech which has led to civilian injury in recent
events. Their request was simple:

1. Demand a formal apology from President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu
   Chao-shiuan for abusing human rights.
2. Urge the Director-General of the National Police Agency, Wang Cho-chiun
   and the head of the National Security Bureau, Tsai Chao-ming, to stand down.
3. Request an immediate amendment of the Mass Gathering and Demonstration Act.

The students were spontaneous to form Disciplinary Patrol Units to maintain
order and tranquility, expressing their defiance through peaceful serene
protest. In order to sustain a clear focus on their cause, emblems and logos
of political parties were prohibited.

The silent protest began at 11:00am, when 200 students gathered in front of
the Executive Yuan. By 1:00pm their numbers had increased to over 400. Many
professors also turned up to show their support. The police raised warning
signs on four separate occasions, and someone opted to move the whole
processions to locations registered by the DPP, however, the offer was
unanimously turned down.

The event was initiated by a group of students and professors, and through
the internet expressed their plea of: "Protest against police violence!
Safeguard freedom and human rights!". Originally expecting around 50
participants, news of the event spread like wildfire amongst the academic
community, and by the next day over 400 showed up to help support the cause.
Apart from university students from all over Taiwan, Professors Yun Fan,
Hwa-Jen Liu, Pei-Chia Lan from the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan
University (NTU), and Assistant Professor Chen-Ling Hung from the Graduate
Institute of Journalism (NTU), Professor Guo Pei-Yi from the Institute of
Ethnology (Academia Sinica ), Professor Wu Rwei-ren from the Institute of
Taiwan History (Academia Sinica), Professor Wu Jieh-min from the Graduate
Institute of Sociology (Tsing-Hua University), former Assistant Professor Yeh
Chi-Chen from the Department of Sociology (NTU), Assistant Professor Huang
Ho-Min from the Department of Sociology (Chengchi University) were also
present on scene.

In addition to the encouragement and support given by the professors for the
student’s cause, many students also expressed their deep concerns of the
long term crisis of police using the Mass Gathering and Demonstration Act as
an excuse to disband campaigners through force and even illegal detainment,
which is a serious breach of the freedom of speech. Master's Degree 2nd year
student, Huang Gia-Pin of Graduate School for Social Transformation Studies
(Shih Hsin University) commented: "In the past few decades, Taiwan's
democracy and human rights have been relatively progressing in Asia, however,
in the few days that Chen Yun-lin visited Taiwan, we see the accumulated
democratic accomplishments being eroded away by legislative units who turn a
blind eye when it comes to human rights.”

All the important policies throughout the silent protest, were collectively
decided by all the participants on scene, implementing direct democracy. The
Executive Yuan was only willing to send a second group negotiator to 'receive'
the student representatives, which was perceived by the students as a lack
of sincerity, a weak attempt by the authorities to pacify the situation. The
students reinstated their demand of "an apology from Ma and Liu", "the
relieve from office of Director General of the NPA, and the head of the
National Security Bureau", and "an immediate amendment of the Mass
Gathering and Demonstration Act".

As the Executive Yuan refused to formally receive the student’s pleas, the
students decided to campaign overnight and prepare for a long-term approach.
Even if the demonstration were to be dispersed through force, the students
will surely regroup, "without a formal answer, we will not leave". (Translated by fallenseraph,阿翔)
Visit the original website(苦勞網)  here 






Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 5:42 am

Protest police brutality! Defend freedom and human rights!(Sit-in Activity Statement)

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Starting on November 3, with the visit of representatives from China's
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) to sign various
agreements with our government , police officers have engaged in numerous
abusive acts against peaceful protestors from various dissenting groups,
under the guise of "keeping the peace". These acts have included arbitrary
searches and prohibitions, seizure and destruction of property, physical
assault, dispersion, and even arrest and detention. The vast majority of the
victims of this police brutality were nowhere near ARATS Chairman Chen
Yunlin, and were simply passing, standing, or photographing various areas
when they were victimized.

Through reports in the media, we have come to realize the seriousness of the
current situation. It is no longer a technical question of excessive law
enforcement tactics, nor is it simply a partisan issue between supporters of
various political parties. This is a proliferation of state sponsored
violence that is provoking and attacking civil society. All these oppressive
acts, which ignore human rights and democratic values are reminiscent of
martial law. Even legislators from the ruling party have expressed concern
over this issue to the Executive Yuan, only to see the chief authority -
Premier Liu, dodge responsibility while providing only the flimsiest of
excuses. We are stunned and outraged by this response, as well as ashamed and
increasingly uneasy.

We must ask: Does increasing cross-Strait exchange require Taiwan to lower
its standards of freedom and democracy, in order to achieve the same level of
repressive authoritarian rule that China has?

In only a few short days, the liberal democracy that the people of Taiwan
have fought so hard for has nearly collapsed amid massive police presence in
the city, and the atmosphere of fear and repression that it brings. Behind
its police state-like barricades, our government remains blinded by its
delusions of a "meeting of historic proportions", and indulge itself in its
receptions and banquets. Through this all, the peoples' constitutionally
guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and movement have been cast aside, and
even forgotten.

As many of their actions are unconstitutional, it is not surprising that not
a single police officer before the cameras has been able to definitively
state what law empowers them to carry out the orders issued to them by their
superiors. Police officers are supposed to be civil servants charged with
protecting the people. Yet under the outrageous requests issued from above,
they have become thugs restricting and punishing the people for expressing
their opinions. We have no intention of blaming individual police officers
who can only obey orders issued by their superiors. Rather, we solemnly
demand that the highest authorities in the government bear the largest share
of political responsibility for these abuses.

We are simply a group of university professors, students, cultural workers,
and citizens who are concerned about Taiwan's current state of disorder and
future development. At 11AM on November 6, without any support or
mobilization from any political party or civic group, we will assemble at the
gate of the Executive Yuan in black clothes and face masks symbolizing our
painful protest, and will join hands sitting in civil disobedience until our
requests are met. Our requests include:

President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan must publicly apologize to
all citizens.

National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun and National Security
Bureau Director Tsai Chao-ming must step down.

The Legislative Yuan must revise the Parade and Assembly Law, which currently
restricts the rights of the people.(Translated by Loren Chang, 海天)







一、 馬英九總統和行政院長劉兆玄必須公開向國人道歉。
二、 警政署長王卓鈞、國安局長蔡朝明,應立刻下臺。
三、 立法院應儘速修改限縮人民權利的「集會遊行法」。

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 4:38 am