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Democracy regressing

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“Well, look at Taiwan, look at [South] Korea, different places,” US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said recently. (“PRC stalling on human rights: House speaker,” June 7, page 1). While Taiwanese joined others in discussing the slow progress of human rights in China on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, how many of us noticed that democracy in Taiwan is moving backwards?

Why were the parents of a Tamkang University student warned by police after their child attended the protest held by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on May 17? Why was a student arrested and investigated by the police just for shouting “Ma Ying-jeou step down!” at a Taiwan High Speed Rail station in March? Why was Sunrise Records shut down by police because they were playing patriotic Taiwanese music when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin visited Taipei last year?

I can’t believe all these incidents happened in a so-called democratic country. Living in Taiwan in the 21st century, we are supposed to have the basic human right of freedom of speech. Martial Law was lifted in 1987 by former President Chiang Ching-kuo, but maybe Ma forgot about that. Otherwise, why was I warned by an unfriendly policeman with fierce eyes and a pointing finger for having a yellow ribbon with the words “Taiwan is my country” tied to my car?


Taipei City

Source: Taipei Times - Letters, 2009/06/29

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Members of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan return to Taipei yesterday after walking around the island in protest at what they call the “autocratic control of the judiciary.” They also called for the release of jailed former president Chen Shui-bian.
Photo: CNA

Members of a pro-independence group yesterday completed a 36-day walk around the country as they called on the authorities to end what they termed “autocratic control of the judiciary” and for the release of jailed former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The walk, initiated by the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, arrived at Banciao Railway Station in New Taipei City (新北市) yesterday morning. They braved the cold and rain, and at noon reached Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei, where an overnight protest was scheduled.