Free Speech In Taiwan

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

Speak Up!(From 吳怡旻 Carolyn Wu’s blog)

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Originally posted in Carolyn Wu’s blog

Dear Whom It May Concern,

I’ve been in a terrible mood these two days. I watched the tv up to 10 hours a day reluctantly. Yes! I can just turn it off but i left it be on. I know I can keep silence and do nothing and…just let the time passes and just let it go and let it be. But I don’t want, and I cannot betray my faith.

During the summer session that I attended which talked about English literature. All that we talked about in classes was that the core thought of knights in middle century of Britain– the faith in his land, his lord and his country if there is one. Many people consider knights’ faith lies in their gentle attitude toward ladies; however, it’s only half way to the right answer. The core value for a knight to fight against monsters (resemblance of anti-Jesus religions, crown competitors and so on) was the faith to contribute their strength, spirit and their body to his country by glorious battles. They are not perfect, even far away from perfection comparing with strong monsters, like Sir Gawayne in the novel. Protesting people recently unfairly treated by police reminded me of Sir Gawayne and his brave behavior. He bore a mission that is to protect a lady from faraway nation on the way to her home which was occupied by a great monster. He was defeated to nearly death but Faith, Moral and Hope led him to a glorious house to heal his wounds and finally got the strengh to beat the biggest monster in the end. Don’t you think those people who were their to speak out “Taiwan is my country!”, “No Communism invasion!” and “No police violence!” are really brave ones who bore the risk to be arrested and violently retreat. What they wanted was very similar to their earlier generation–FREEDOM.

I could not believe my eyes everytime i turn on my tv. I could not believe the land that I have lived for 23 years become a place to be ruined by police and politicians. I could not take the visit of our potential barrel officer worths our welcome let alone the exagerating protection. But what I cannot take upmost is the way they treat OUR PEOPLE who was supposed to be OUR. They climbed upon protesters’ shoulders, protesters’ bellies to protesters’ head sin order to get their power shown and their political rightness seen by their boss and bosses if chinese ones were included.

Those Tibet people who seek for political heritages in Taiwan are another story to tell my sympathy and sorry for their embarrassing situation now. I think if we don’t speak up for them today, one day, which might be very fast, when we need political heritage from another free country in the world, we will not get any because the way we treat those Tibet people this unfair way.

My grandpa used to tell me the effort and fight in his generation to reach democracy, but i think he forgot to remind me the fragilty democracy itself. He also forgot to tell me if neccesary, i need to demonstrate, I need speak up and i need to do anything possible to unlock those blocks. The reason he forgot to tell me was because he never imagined this could ever happen again in this beautiful island.

I’m sorry, grandpa. It happens and still happening.

So, SPEAK UP, TAIWANESE! For our land, our country our people and our Grandparents! They are too matured to go on the street and we should make them comfort as a feedback to their suffer during past 60 years.

I wanna speak up and I know you’re too!

So, speak up! Don’t be afraid!

Speak up! Don’t hesitate!

Speak up! We are all together!

Speak up! for our continuous living in this land!

Please speak up and be at my side!

(Carolyn Wu, Taiwanese)

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Taiwanese Students are using mobile devices to broadcast their protest.

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Students are broadcasting the protest on Live Yahoo

Students are broadcasting the protest on Live Yahoo. (Photo:chitsaou,student)

Taiwanese university students have been protesting for freedom of speech and human rights in Taipei since Nov. 6, capital of Taiwan. Students don’t want the protest be distorted by the mainstream media, so they use their own laptop and digital cameras to broadcast the protest on yahoo, attracting thousands internet users.
The broadcast was set up for those who can’t attend the protest to understand what is happening, and also let their friends know that they are safe. The other concern is that the protest might be tagged as political activity or violence by mainstream media, so students tried to broadcast the real scene by themselves.
In order to let more people understand the protest, students report the scene for audience in Mandarin, Hakka, and English. They also interview students and professors.
Owing to the visit of there are several protests in Taipei now, which are hold by different groups. The biggest one belongs to Democratic Progress Party, the opposite party, which leads several protests in more radical methods which is different from the students’ peace method. Students know that mainstream media might link their protest with DPP, so they try to document their protest in advance.

Watch their boadcast here.
(Alice Ju, Student at Universtity of Texas at Austin)

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm

An article from a professor’s blog

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Dear Visitors,

親愛的訪客,

The site is taken down as a way to humbly protest the lost of freedom of
speech and Liberty in Taiwan.

本站暫時關閉,作為臺灣失去言論自由和人身自由的卑微抗議。

I was questioned by a police on the street across NTU campus just because I
aimed my camera to a police on the street. No name tag on his uniform and no
identification for himself. Most importantly, I am not the only one.

我受到一名警察的盤問,只因為我在跨越台大校園時,將我的相機對準了街上的警察。

他的制服上沒有姓名條,也沒有任何個人辨識。最重要的是,並不只有我一個受到盤

問。

If I have told you that Taiwan government works very hard to protect her
people,
I take it back.

如果我曾跟你說過臺灣政府很努力的保護她的人民,
我收回。

If I have told you that Taiwan is a democratic society,
I take it back.

如果我曾經告訴你台灣是個民主社會,
我收回。

If I have told you that we can always complain the President in public,
I take it back.

如果我曾經告訴你,我們總是可以在公眾場合抱怨總統,
我收回。

If I have told you that Taiwan is a nice place to visit,
I take it back.

如果我曾經告訴你台灣是個值得拜訪的好地方,
我收回。

Very soon, visiting Taiwan will just experience what you have in Mainland
China.

很快的,拜訪臺灣的經驗就會跟你拜訪中國大陸一樣了。

Please accept my apology for any inconvenience.

如有不便,敬請見諒。

Nov. 5th, 2008.

Chi-Sheng Shih is a professor at Department of Computer Science of National Taiwan University. He said that one policeman questioned him because he want to take photos of the policeman. There were several protests in Taiwan against the visit of representatives from China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) and there were several violence when police tried to keep order. Shih was questioned when he tried to document what he saw.

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 7, 2008 at 4:50 pm

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 
十一月六日,在行政院大門前聚集將近四百名來自各校的大學生以及教授,不滿近日來警
察不當執法、侵害言論自由,導致合法集會的民眾受傷,要求「馬英九總統、劉兆玄院長
道歉」、「警政署長、國安局長下台」和「立即修正集遊惡法」。現場學生為了維持主體
性與訴求的明確,組成糾察隊維持秩序,環繞靜坐人群,並謝絕政黨旗幟入場。

現場學生為了維持主體性與訴求的明確,組成糾察隊維持秩序,環繞靜坐人群,並謝絕政
黨旗幟入場。

今早十一點,兩百名學生來到行政院門口前靜坐,直到下午一點前來聲援的學生陸續增加
至四百多名,也有多位教授前來支持學生的行動。過程中面臨警方四度舉牌,有人提議移
師至民進黨合法申請的場地,但遭到在場同學一致否決。

除了教授們表達支持學生與捍衛言論自由的訴求外,同學們也紛紛發言表示,長期來警方
以集會遊行法為由,動輒強制驅離甚至違法拘留抗議者,嚴重侵害言論自由。世新社會發
展研究所碩士二年級黃佳平同學表示:「過去幾十年來,台灣的民主與人權在亞洲相對地
進步,但是在陳雲林來台的這幾天內,我們看到這些累積下來的民主成果,卻因為行政單
位對於人權的漠視,而遭到破壞。」

由一群大學教授和同學共同發起,透過網路串聯,以「抗議警察暴力!捍衛自由人權!」
為訴求:原預估僅有五十人參加,但一夜之間經過輾轉相傳,竟有四百多人到場靜坐。除
了來自全台各地的學生外,尚有台大社會系范雲教授、劉華真教授、藍佩嘉教授、台大新
聞所助理教授洪貞玲、中研院民族所郭佩宜教授、中研院台灣史研究所吳叡人教授、清華
大學社會所吳介民教授、台大社會系前教授葉啟政、政大社會系助理教授黃厚銘等學者,
到場聲援。

在院方不願正面回應學生訴求下,學生們決議將進行守夜並長期抗戰,絕不妥協;
即便遭到強制驅離,也會再度集結,「不達訴求,絕不解散」。
活動過程中所有的重要決策,都以在場參與者進行小組討論,落實直接民主,當行政院院
方表示僅願意以第二組參議「接見」學生代表,現場同學一致認為院方派遣層級過低的官
員出面,只想安撫學生,缺乏誠意,因此堅持原本訴求:「馬、劉道歉」、「警政署長、
國安局長下台」和「立即修正集遊惡法」。

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)

從11月3日開始,中國海協會代表團來臺與政府簽署各項協定,同時在臺北各處,就陸續
出現警方藉「維安」之名,對各類以和平方式表達不同意見者,進行粗暴的盤查、損毀、
沒收、禁制、拉扯、驅離甚至拘捕。絕大多數遭致警察暴力相向的民眾,根本不曾靠近陳
雲林人身,有的市民甚至只是路過、停留或單純拍攝記錄,即遭受上述對待。

透過媒體畫面傳送,我們驚覺事態嚴重
這已經不是維安有否過當的技術問題、更不只是政黨認同選擇的問題,而是暴力化的國家
公權,對市民社會的嚴重挑釁和侵犯。所有彷彿戒嚴、罔顧自由人權與民主價值的管控鎮
壓,連執政黨的國會議員都質問行政院長;卻只見身為最高責任主管的劉揆,仍在輕佻地
詭辯和推責。實在令人既錯愕憤怒,又深感羞辱和不安。

我們不禁要問:難道要強化兩岸經貿交流,也必須透過降低臺灣的民主自由程度、以達成
與中國同樣極權統治的水準嗎?

才不過短短幾天,臺灣人民好不容易匍匐建立的民主自由體制,在滿城的警力、威嚇的氛
圍與強勢的防堵中,幾近崩解。我們政府,在如同警察國家的武裝保護裡,自我陶醉於「
歷史性儀式」的想像、與酒酣耳熱的輪番大宴中。於此,憲法所保障人民的自由言論與行
動權利,完全地被擱置、甚至忘卻。

因為多數的強勢作為根本違憲違法,無怪乎鏡頭前沒有一個警察能理直氣壯說出,他們根
據何種「法律」,執行這般上級交待的勤務。警察原是保護人民的公僕,如今在這政府由
上而下的嚴峻要求中,竟競相成了限制與懲罰人民表達意見的打手。我們無意歸咎個別只
能服從上命的員警,相對的,我們嚴正要求下達此一惡令的政府高層,必須負起最大的政
治責任。

我們只是一群憂心臺灣混亂現況與未來發展的大學教授、學生、文化工作者和市民,在沒
有任何政黨與團體動員及奧援的前提下,十一月六日(四)上午十一點,將自發性地集結
於行政院大門前,以「著黑衣、戴口罩」作為沈痛抗議的象徵,並牽手靜坐至訴求達成為
止。我們的訴求是:

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