15 Nov 2008
Mail Art Project – Mobilize Taiwan
This project is initiated in response to the Wild Berries Student Movement that started on November 6, 2008.
For additional information please refer to http://taiwanstudentmovement2008.blogspot.com/
We Need Your Support!
Voice your concern for the future of political freedom of the youth in Taiwan.
Letters, art objects, designs, musical composition and video works are welcomed.
E-mail your messages to:
Entries with good intention will be displayed in front of Freedom Square in Taipei City.
For Basic Human Rights
◘ The Mail Art – the Mobilize Taiwan Initiative 2008
Updated Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:20 am TWN, CNA
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The organizers of a recently established student movement pushing for reform of Taiwan’s assembly law announced yesterday their plan to expand their ongoing sit-in protest.
According to Lin Yu-hsuan, spokesman for the Taiwan Wild Strawberries Movement, the sit-in, which has been held at Taipei’s Liberty Square since last Friday, will be expanded on Saturday and is expected to draw approximately 1,000 participants, including student representatives from Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
The sit-in once saw around 500 students participate, but the number has dropped to below 100 over the past few days as many returned to school to sit for midterm exams.
Lin said the group does not rule out the possibility that politicians sympathizing with their cause may be invited to take part. They have previously banned non students from participating.
Lin said the group will continue their peaceful demonstration until their appeals are answered, with disregard for possible dispersal by the police.
Over the past week, the group of students has been staging the sit-in to protest against what they called the use of excessive force by police to disperse pro-independence demonstrators who protested against the recent visit to Taiwan by a Chinese envoy.
The envoy, Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, is China’s top negotiator with Taiwan. He was in the country from Nov. 3-7 to sign four non-political pacts with his Taiwan counterpart Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation.
Some protesters, who feared the visit and agreements would jeopardize Taiwan’s independence and sovereignty, threw bottles and rocks at police and pushed down police barricades. Police responded by spraying water at the protesters, scuffling with some of them, and arresting others.
In addition to demanding an open apology from President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan, the student group is also asking for the replacement of National Security Bureau Director General Tsai Chao-ming and National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chiun.
Furthermore, the students want the Parade and Assembly Law be amended to relax its restrictions on people’s right to demonstrate. Protesters had complained their application to protest in many areas were rejected. Ma said in a radio interview Wednesday that Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi has on many occasions apologized over the alleged misconduct by law-enforcement officers and promised to review the methods adopted by the police in performing their duties.
Ma admitted there was room for improvement in the performance of Tsai and Wang in handling the demonstrations, but said “this was not to an extent where they should be removed from their posts.”
The president said the legislative caucus of the ruling Kuomintang will hold a public hearing to discuss a possible amendment to the Parade and Assembly law, with representatives of the protesting students to be invited to express their opinions at the hearing.
STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA
Saturday, Nov 15, 2008, Page 4
The organizers of a recently established student movement pushing for reform of the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) announced yesterday a plan to expand the sit-in protest.
Lin Yu-hsuan (林邑軒), spokesman for the Taiwan Wild Strawberries Movement, said the week-long sit-in at Taipei’s Liberty Square would be expanded today and was expected to draw approximately 1,000 participants, including student representatives from Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
The sit-in earlier saw around 500 students participate, but the number has dropped to below 100 over the past few days as many returned to school for mid-term exams.
Lin said the group did not rule out the possibility that politicians sympathizing with their cause may be invited to take part. They had previously banned non-students from participating.
Lin said the group would continue their peaceful demonstration until their appeals were answered, disregarding possible dispersal by the police.
Over the past week, the group of students has been staging the sit-in to protest what they called the use of excessive force by police to disperse pro-independence demonstrators during a recent visit to Taiwan by Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).
In addition to demanding an apology from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), the student group is also asking for the resignations of National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) and National Police Agency Director-General Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞).
The students also want the assembly law to be amended to relax its restrictions on people’s right to demonstrate. Protesters had complained that their applications to protest were rejected in many areas.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, Ma said there was room for improvement in Tsai and Wang’s performance in handling the demonstrations, but added: “This was not to the extent that they should be removed from their posts.”
While we whole-heartedly agree that the government must provide adequate protective detail to ensure Mr. Chen's safety, especially given the alleged attack of ARATS Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing during his visit. However, we also firmly believe that law enforcement tactics extended beyond protective details. Not only have these extreme security measures threatened Taiwanese citizens' civil rights, upset the balance of law and order, but more importantly, endangered our democratic nation. Simply put, a government must answer to the highest law of our land, the Constitution.
Let us evaluate the so called "security measures" over the past few days: (1) clearing and monitoring all major highways; (2) banning any public displays of our national flag; (3) censoring citizens who proclaim "Taiwan is not a part of China"; (4) confiscating private properties including flags and display signs, and (5) the continued inability of Secretary Minister Hsueh Hsiang-Chuan to explain the reasoning behind forcibly shutting down a privately owned business, Sunrise Record Store. The aforementioned activities clearly demonstrate the oppression of freedom of speech in an effort to welcome Mr. Chen, posing a severe threat to our constitution and our hard-earned freedom and democracy. While we recognize the importance of ensuring the safety of any foreign dignitaries visiting Taiwan, we challenge the notion that everyday citizens with digital video camcorders filming Mr. Chen's motorcade would endanger his safety. Moreover, we question the danger of waving our national flag in public areas. The heightened and over-reactive security measures throughout Mr. Chen's visit illustrated a government, designed to protect and guarantee its citizens' fundamental human rights, became an oppressive entity which deprived its citizens of life, liberty and property and disregarded the right to assemble. By sacrificing the diversity and freedom of speech in our multidimensional society, we have paid the hefty price of undermining Taiwan's democratic constitutional government.
Even prior to Mr. Chen's visit, there were signs that Taiwanese people was not unanimous in welcoming such a visit, not to mention lingering doubts regarding an earlier meeting between SEF Chairman Chiang and Mr. Chen. We question the government's reluctance to allow dissenting voices practice their freedom of speech and more importantly, the censorship of such dissenting voices. If the Taiwanese government had allowed its diverse citizens to freely express their opinions through legal and already established means, we believe violent clashes and civil rights violations would not have occurred.
If the President decides to view the aforementioned examples of power abuse as separate and unrelated incidents, he would be ignoring a systemic and prevalent issue that exists within our system. Inevitably, this would lead to a gradual dissipation of freedom and democracy in Taiwan, and an end to the established law and order. As such, we believe that the President and Premier, who are tasked with protecting our constitutional rights, should be held responsible.
However, we believe the fact that the restriction of freedom and excessive law enforcement tactics were systematic, clearly organized, and concentrated in certain areas illustrate these measurements of control were not accidental and certainly should not be viewed as isolated incidents. Moreover, the statement that The Wild Strawberries Movement is not representative of majority opinion fails to address the legality of the government’s recent actions. We deeply regret Premier Liu’s refusal to address the civil rights violations and the power abuse considering that a government’s legitimacy should not be solely based on “majority opinion” and that dissenting voices, however debatedly minority voices, must also be heard. Once again, Premier Liu’s response has shown the government’s blatant disregard for freedom of speech.
The one who is not speaking against the criminal is participating in the criminal himself.
Why don’t we hear the voice of the people who participated in the wild lily movement?
Why don’t we see them speaking in the parliaments, writing in the newspapers?
Don’t they care or are they afraid?
Is Taiwan a country were people have to be afraid to speak free?
What about the ones that participated in the Protests in 1989 in Beijing, escaped to Taiwan and survived the Tian’Anmeng massacre? Have thy forgotten their past? Did they sell their soul?
What about the ones that roughly know that there is a protest? The ones that do not care, the ones that do not read the newspapers, the people who go to university or work everyday as if nothing happened.
Shouldn’t we tell them that democracy needs responsibility, requires that people care?
Shouldn’t the protest be brought into the universities and into the offices and even into the shopping malls?
Things, would be different in the motherland of revolution were many ideas about modern democracy of freedom and human rights started (as in the US of course):
If Taiwan would be France, the Universities would be closed and all the students and professors would protest together as long as it is necessary and the statements would be sprayed on the University buildings!
If Taiwan would be France, the protest would be in the centre of the cities, between shopping malls and restaurants, so that everybody could see and hear.
If Taiwan would be France, the traffic would break down and no train would leave and no highway would be unblocked.
If Taiwan would be France, no student would protest silent, and feared being pushed around or ignored by a Government.
It is time to storm the Bastille! Vive la revolution!
And to block typical argument of Taiwanese politicians against any kind of protest: How important the economic development and the peace in the society is and that people should work together and be modest, … (to cut a long story short: Shut up and work or study harder!)
France is a much richer and more free country than Taiwan. As all western democracies are!
So forget about these stupid arguments!
To those who support the movement, we wish you to come and also invite your friends to come as well.
Since the initiation of this sit-in movement, it have been more than a week. This Saturday, please come to Liberty Square being with the students and show your support!
0900 ~ 1200 Student representatives from six spots gather together sit-in
1200 ~ 1300 Lunch Break
1300 ~ 1400 NGOs gather to support students' demands
1400 ~ 1500 Action drama by Professors
1500 ~ 1530 Press Conference and the opening ceremony of the gathering movement
1530 ~ 1600 Action drama for Wild StrawBerries and human rigths
1600 ~ 1700 Sit-in
1700 ~ 1900 Talks and prospect of the movement
1900 ~ 1930 Dinner Break
1930 ~ 2100 Forum on human rights
2100 ~ 2200 Voice of Strawberries: The reflection of sit-in students
See you there!