Free Speech In Taiwan

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

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Protest in Taiwan continues, named “Wild Strawberry Movement”

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Originally posted in free speech in Taiwan
Protest in Taiwan continues, named “Wild Strawberry Movement”
(Alice Ju, Taiwanese student)
The protest initiated by professors and students in Taiwan has been longer than 96 hours, and protesters voted to name the protest as Wild Strawberry Movement on Nov. 9.

Strawberry is a symbol that mainstream media often used to satire young people who was born in 1980s by calling them “group of strawberry”. Born at the economic rising age, this generation is thought less painstaking than their parents and with less anti-pressure ability, just as strawberry couldn’t be pressed anymore. Students choose “Wild Strawberry” to counteract the stigmatization imposed by media.

This movement is the biggest student movement after the Wild Lily student movement in 1990. Both movements are launched by students, and are held in the same place, Liberty Square, which used to be Memorial Square before 2008. In Wild Lily student movement students demonstrated for democratic reform and now students are seeking the freedom of assembly and parade.

Wild Lily student movement is regarded as a major event in the evolution of democratic in Taiwan. They sought direct elections for president and vice president, which came true in 1996, after six years of the protest.

A lot of the demonstrators are now members of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the opposite party, including the protest leader of the Wild Strawberry movement, so some people doubt the movement was controlled by DPP.

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 10, 2008 at 7:48 am

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Action Statement from the “Wild Strawberry Movement”

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Originally posted in free speech in Taiwan

Action Statement from the “Wild Strawberry Movement”

Movement Origins
We are a group of university professors, students, cultural workers, and
citizens who are concerned about Taiwan’s current state of disorder and
future development. Over the past few days, we have seen numerous
instances of police overreaction and suppression, which have caused injury
to citizens exercising their right to free speech. 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 challenging and
attacking civil society. Our concern over this state of affairs led us to
peacefully protest at the gates of the Executive Yuan, beginning at 11AM on
November 6. At 4PM on November 7, we were dispersed by the police. We
have since regrouped at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall , where we plan to
engage in a long term struggle.

Oppose Police Overreaction and the Suppression of Human Rights by the
Unconstitutional Assembly and Parade Law

Inappropriate acts taken by police in recent days include the following:
Forcibly shutting down major highways. Prohibiting citizens from waving the
national flag in public. Prohibiting citizens from stating that “Taiwan does
not belong to China” in public. Confiscating the personal property of
citizens, such as flags and signs with slogans. Forcibly detaining citizens
filming areas near the Grand Hotel with handheld camcorders, without
following due process. Preventing citizens from flying balloons protesting
toxic Chinese food products. Forcibly detaining citizens on a moped carrying
a Tibetan flag. Ordering the closure of a music store playing Taiwanese
music. The police have tried to justify these repressive actions by claiming
violations of the Assembly and Parade Law, the Social Order Maintenance
Law, and invoking the Regulations on Police Duties, while ignoring the fact
that their actions are in violation of the Constitution, Civil Law, and other
higher level laws guaranteeing the peoples’ free speech and property rights.
On the Importance of Personal Freedom
We believe in the importance of freedom. Imagine for a moment what
would have resulted had the government ordered the police to crack down
on the 2007 Red Shirt demonstration in front of the Presidential Office. The
citizens of Taiwan would not have had the opportunity to listen to other
opinions. It was only because they were not dispersed that different voices
could be heard. Only by being exposed to numerous different viewpoints,
can we learn how to determine for ourselves the quality of different
opinions. This is an essential requirement for a functioning civil society, and
illustrates the importance of free speech.
It is because free speech is so important that its protection is enshrined in
the Constitution. Other laws must support the Constitution, facilitating its
execution and specifying its limits. Despite this, the Assembly and Parade
Law – left over from the authoritarian days of martial law, gravely damages
the right to free speech. By requiring protesting citizens to acquire a permit
for a lawful demonstration, rather than simply notifying the government
beforehand, it allows protests to be declared illegal before they even take
place. Its excessive provisions for restricted areas off limits to protesters,
allows governmental organs to insulate themselves from being challenged by
public opinion. By granting the police excessive powers, it allows the police
to take the place of judges in a court of law.

Concrete Demands
Amend the Assembly and Parade Law
We provide the following suggestions for revising the Assembly and Parade
Law: (1) Change the current permit system to a notification system. The
government has no right to examine the peoples’ motivations beforehand,
and declare unfavorable demonstrations to be illegal before they even take
place; (2) Reexamine the current provisions for restricted areas.
Demonstrations and marches allow unarmed citizens without any other
means to make their grievances known and petition for redress. The current
restricted areas do not allow the people to challenge governmental
agencies; (3) Clarify permissible actions by the police in enforcing the law.
Do not grant a blank check for the police to exercise whatever methods they
see fit; (4) Make the new law an administrative law, rather then penal law.
Compared to other laws, the current Assembly and Parade Law calls for
heavier punishment for the same illegal actions, violating the principle of
Punish Police Personnel Engaging in Inappropriate Behavior
The recent clashes between the people and the police have left us with a
great sense of sorrow. We have been asked why we have not stood out to
condemn violent mob behavior. To this, we provide the following response:
We are determined to protect and support the people in freely expressing
their opinions, and condemn any and all acts of violence, be they from the
people or the police. From the many events of the past few days, we have
seen that while violent acts on the part of the people can be regulated by
law, law enforcement agencies can also abuse their power to justify
unlimited brutality without any appropriate restriction or regulation. It is
because of this that we condemn the government and the police for
increasingly ignoring the law, and for inappropriate use of force to violently
suppress the rights of the people to freely express their views. We request
that a full investigation be carried out to identify police officers who abused
their authority, and that appropriate punitive measures be taken.
Additionally, the directors of the police and national security agencies who
are ultimately responsible must step down.
President Ma must Apologize
The use of force by police is a symbol of state sponsored violence, and
should only be used when absolutely necessary to safeguard the rights of the
people to life, liberty, and property. Its use should never be employed
without the utmost care. However, police agencies are only passive
mechanisms that execute the orders issued to them. The positions and
directives of the government, as well as the ruling party, will directly
impact how rank and file police officers go about their duties. We condemn
the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou for trampling on the spirit of
freedom and democracy that are fundamental to the foundation of our
nation, and demand that he apologize.

Creating a movement of Civil Disobedience
We are a movement of civil disobedience initiated by students, and with
students as our core. When the government invokes the unconstitutional
Assembly and Parade Law, or abuses lawful governmental authority,
subsequent governmental actions are illegitimate. The people have a right
to refuse to obey illegitimate governmental actions. We hope that all people
who agree with our statement will join us in this movement to demand that
President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan apologize to all
citizens; that National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun and
National Security Bureau Director Tsai Chao-ming step down; and that the
Legislative Yuan immediately amend the Assembly and Parade Law so that it
does not threaten the rights of the people.
(Translated by Loren Chang,海天)

Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 10, 2008 at 6:36 am

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Photos of the protest on Nov. 7 2008

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Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 8, 2008 at 8:52 am

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反集會遊行法中日文聲明稿 (Statement in Japanese)

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Originally posted in blog 1106






私たちは(政治的な意図で集められたのではなく)単なる台湾の「現状の混乱」と「今後の発展」に関して心配している大学教授、学生、文化的な労働者と市民です。どんな政党や市民団体からも少しもサポートや動員をされることなく、 2008年11月6日(木)午前11時(台湾時間)に、私たちの苦痛と抗議を象徴する黒い服とマスクで行政院前に集合し、手に手を繋ぎ平和的に、私たちの主張が受けられるまで座る決意をしております。











范 雲(臺灣大學社會學系助理教授)

























Written by freespeechintaiwan

November 8, 2008 at 6:24 am

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

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