"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Returning to dictatorship under the KMT

Destruction of democracy

In the days of freedom, it was known as the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. We should have known what was coming.
Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (臺灣民主紀念館)
Photographed in December 2007 by Tim Maddog
(Click to enlarge)

Earlier today, the dictator-loving Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government under Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) removed a sign reading "臺灣民主紀念館" ("Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall") from a Taipei monument and restored its earlier name "中正紀念堂" ("Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石/蔣中正] Memorial Hall") in commemoration of a dictator who was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Taiwanese here and millions of people in China.

Remember how Ma said he would "gauge public opinion" before changing the name and that it was "not a pressing matter"? Did you believe it then?

A closer shot of the plaque which reads ''Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall''
A closer shot of the plaque which -- until earlier
today -- read "Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall"
Photographed in December 2007 by Tim Maddog
(Click to enlarge)

This is yet another brazen display of the KMT's authoritarian nature, their unabashed love of dictators, and their hatred of democracy.

Are you awake yet? If you are, and if anyone you know is still asleep, go pour a large bucket of cold water on their heads this instant!

* Michael Turton pretty much live-blogged it: KMT restores Chiang Kai-shek Name to Memorial Hall

* See what I wrote about this on May 30, 2009: The Chinese Nationalist Party hates Taiwan's democracy

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Formosa Betrayed -- the official movie preview

The reason transitional justice is so important in Taiwan

The official trailer for the long-awaited film "Formosa Betrayed" is out. The film is based on the real-life murder of a Taiwanese writer which was carried out on American soil, and it follows the trail of evidence right to the top levels of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government:


My favorite lines from the trailer: "The Chinese say we are their brothers. But if we are brothers, why do they treat us like this?"

I don't know the official release date yet, but if this film is showing anywhere within 20,037.51 kilometers of your location, you must see it. Open your eyes.

* The official movie web site

* The story and the history behind it via the official web site

* The film's news page mentions some festivals where the film has been accepted and will probably be the place to find out the actual release date.

* Formosa Betrayed on IMDb.com

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Statement of support for Lee Ming-tsung

NTU Sociology Professor Lee Ming-tsung
Prof. Lee Ming-tsung
image (cc) 楊竣傑
via 生命力新聞
We, the bloggers of Taiwan Matters, stand in solidarity with National Taiwan University Professor Lee Ming-tsung (李明璁) following his indictment last month on charges of violating the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).

Professor Lee participated in a protest in November 2008 with a group of students which later came to be known as the "Wild StrawBerries Movement." They had three specific demands [edited here for formatting, clarity, spelling, and completeness]:
1. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) must publicly apologize to all citizens [for creating the situation which allowed the police to treat protesters the way they did during Chen Yunlin's (陳雲林) visit to Taiwan].

2. National Police Agency (NPA) Director-General Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and National Security Bureau Director Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) must step down [to take responsibility for the police brutality that occurred as a result of the massive police presence].

3. The Legislative Yuan (行政院) must revise the Parade and Assembly Law (集會遊行法), which currently restricts the rights of the people [and which are set to become even more repressive early in 2009]. [This is basically a simple demand for "Freedom of Assembly."]
If there had been sufficient reason to charge Professor Lee, it could have been done at the time of the protest instead of seven months later.

In the interim, political persecution, threats, and violence have with increasing frequency been carried out against those who are active in their opposition to the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration's policies of moving politically closer to China and reversing the progress made during Taiwan's transition to sovereign democracy over the past twenty years.

The current administration has severely undermined the integrity of Taiwan's judicial system with its continued detention of former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) while justice officials perform skits mocking the defendant. Despite President Ma's promises that he would reform the Assembly and Parade Act, all indications are that it will become a stricter law than it was previously.

In fact, more laws infringing on free speech are being passed. One example is the Act Governing the Administrative Impartiality of Public Officials (公務人員行政中立法):
The Act prohibits academics from wearing or displaying flags or emblems of any political parties or groups at teachers' or researchers' offices. It also prohibits academics from convening demonstrations, launching signature bids and the editing, printing or distribution of political flyers or related documents using public equipment at public offices. The Examination Yuan and the Executive Yuan are also authorized to impose more bans through administrative orders.
The indictment of Professor Lee is yet another example to add to the ever-growing list of partisan indictments which strongly suggest systemized political persecution. There is no political capital to be gained by such actions, except perhaps in Beijing.

What we need in Taiwan is justice, not the "just us" mentality that is currently being demonstrated by the Ma administration.

To summarize, we stand behind Professor Lee Ming-tsung in his rational, nonviolent attempts to defend and deepen Taiwan's democracy. As long as the current government's policies continue to carry us backward toward an authoritarian past, the protests are likely to grow.

The Taiwan Matters blog team

Learn more about the controversial practices of the current judicial system.

* The Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights (捍衛民主人權陣線) harshly criticizes the Ma administration and shows strong support for Professor Lee as well as for National Taiwan Normal University (國立台灣師範大學) Professor Lin Chia-fan (林佳範) in the wake of his indictment on charges similar to those being pressed against Professor Lee.

* The Monday, July 13, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times has an editorial piece by Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源) called "The Act that silences academics."

* The Tuesday, July 14, 2009 Taipei Times reports that "More than 120 academics and human rights activists said yesterday they would turn themselves in to prosecutors for breaking the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) in a protest against the legislation." Read all about it in an article titled "Activists, academics 'surrender' to protest law."

* The full text of the new Act Governing the Administrative Impartiality of Public Officials (公務人員行政中立法) can be read in English on Brock Freeman's blog.

* Read David Reid's recent post on how the Assembly Law attacks freedom of speech.

* Taiwan Echo blogs in English and Hanzi on the illegal reasoning behind the latest extension of the detention of Chen Shui-bian: Lawless Taipei District Court extends Chen's detention based on illegal taping; 目無法紀的蔡守訓與台北地院用違法盜錄的看守所對話延長對扁的羈押

* Read a March 2009 statement from Chen Shui-bian (translated into English) which mentions interference by Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰).

* Watch Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng in August 2008 publicly discussing details of the ongoing investigation into the case against Chen Shui-bian as covered by New Taiwan Forum (新台灣論壇), FTV (民視新聞台), and Talking Show (大話新聞).

* Read Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng's denial of what you see happening in the three video clips above.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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