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Friday, December 5, 2008

University Campus is a Sacred Place for Freedom of Expression in Greece 希臘校園是言論自由之聖地

It’s almost one month now since Taiwan’s Wildstrawberries started demonstrating for amending the Assembly and Parade Law, and for asking an apology from the government on police’s mishandling of protestors during the recent visit of PRC’s Chen, Yulin to Taiwan. The government has turned a blind eye to these students, counting on them to dwindle and disappear. Some parents have tried to discourage their children from participating, while some university officials are interfering with the movement.

The youth are the foundation of our society, I fully support the Wildstrawberries and their simple demands, backed with some links which I have been collecting over time to support my personal view.

In Greece, police are prohibited by law from entering university campuses to arrest students when they demonstrate because university campus is a sacred place for freedom of expression. This compared to the ignorance of Ma’s administration on students’ demands in Taiwan, it is like the two extremes of a spectrum.

For those parents who discourage their children from participating the Wildstrawberries movement, I advise them to read J. Michael Cole’s article of Oct. 28, 2008 entitled “Wanted: Angier Taiwanese Youth” in the Taipeitimes, and its translation in Chinese.

For those university administrators, I suggest them to read the essay written by an Austrian scholar Christian Schafferer about how abnormal the Taiwanese society is, especially in regards to the ethical responsibility of the educators of higher institutions on transitional justice. It’s an essay, so it is long, but some excerpts gave us an idea about his arguments that “Taiwan has over 150 institutions of higher education. One would assume that these institutions could assist in the attempt to enlighten Taiwan's society. But the Red Movement proved otherwise.”, and by his closing 8 point suggestions at the end of the essay, among them is “Educational reform: History books and other educational material should clearly mention the atrocities committed by the KMT and its related organisations. Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo and the KMT should be named as the prime perpetrators of the atrocities committed during their dictatorships." "Considering my analysis of Taiwan's intellectuals, none of these measures seems likely to be ever implemented, though. Notwithstanding, I do believe that it would be beneficial to Taiwan's society if the people of Taiwan could escape their mental imprisonment and opt for a more human society."

Transitional justice has never been completed in Taiwan because 20 years after the lifting of martial law, the dictators are still being worshipped by some people, but strangely the doctrine of the dictators (anti-communism) was not being followed by the dictators' worshippers.

Indeed, Taiwan is an abnormal society because the constitution was enacted by a once exiled and now internationally recognized as extinct ROC assembly and government, which took its place of refuge and claimed as belonging to its own. Can Tibet claim any part of its refuge place in India and claim that part of India to be a territory of Tibet? No.

Is there any country in the world having a political party registered in a hostile neighboring country and still being able to participate in the elections of the opponent country? Why then can a party such as the KMT registered in China be an eligible political party participating in Taiwan’s elections? The KMT party has never changed its official Chinese name into a local name associated with the word Taiwan.

Isn’t it strange to lock-up a former president before any charge is laid on him, without taking into account that he has actually saved taxpayers hundreds and thousands of dollars by cutting his salary in half when he took presidential office, and his wife with no government disability compensation after suffering a failed attempt on taking her life, likely a politically-motivated killing? How twisted is the contrast of Ma, being able to have gotten away from the same type of charge by donating the embezzled money to the charity he has set up after investigation had started, and still being able to be voted in as president while his foreign permanent resident status or citizenships were never publically disclosed? Worse, people avoided supporting Chen Shui-bian’s human rights like everyone's rights because they thought supporting his rights is the same as supporting him, implying his policies. But I must say that 挺扁的人權不等於挺扁.

Isn’t it an ill society when Graham Watson, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, stated in his interview on March 18th, 2008 as below, but the people did nothing to improve the inequality of judicial system, of party wealth, of bad quality media reports? How can Taiwanese parents and educators restrain their youth from demonstrating the rights of free expression for a better society? Do these Taiwanese prefer to see Taiwan weaken and split into two countries on one small island? If not, they better encourage their children to come out on the student parade to be held on Dec. 7th, 2008.

Excerpt from Graham Watson's interview:
Q: What does Your Honor suggest the Taiwanese government / people do to better secure their democratic rights?
A: The best thing that Taiwan can do is to continue its very impressive process of democratization and reform, as what we have seen in Taiwan over the past 20 years. In particularly, it should work hard on reforms of judiciary and to rule corruptions out of public life. It is helpful to have a limit to the number of television and radio stations that any one political party can own and to donations to political parties. It seems to me that one of the parties in Taiwan has a huge advantage because of its huge wealth. The source of that wealth should be properly investigated.

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