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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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Former minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi waves to her supporters outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday as she leaves for the Taoyuan Women’s Prison to begin an eight-year sentence for corruption.
Photo: Lin Chun-hung, Taipei Times

Insisting that she was unjustly declared guilty of corruption and vowing to fight to clear her name, former minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) bade a tearful farewell to her supporters yesterday morning as she headed off to Taoyuan Women’s Prison.

Chanting “Stop the political persecution” and “The minister is innocent,” a crowd of former colleagues and supporters greeted Kuo as she stepped out of her car to report to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office before being sent to prison.