by Brian Hioe
PPhoto credit: Brian Hioe
RALLY GROUPS today before the legislature to draw attention to the authoritarianism of the Chinese government and call on the Taiwanese government to take stronger action on Hong Kong people in need of help. The rally was held today because October 1 is the Chinese National Day.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
The rally began at 7:00 p.m., with a stage set up in front of the Legislative Yuan Qunxian Building, along with a number of tents. Temperature checks and registrations took place so members of the public could enter the area where the rally was taking place, with a limit of 300 people. Under current COVID-19 regulations set by the government, only outdoor events with fewer than 300 attendees are allowed. Likewise, some security concerns were expressed by the organizers, in light of the attacks on Hong Kong people that took place in Taiwan, such as paint spraying on singer Denise Ho on a visit to Taiwan Where the Aegis restaurant set up to help Hong Kong people throw chicken droppings on staff. The event was also broadcast live for those who were unable to do so in person.
Among the groups that jointly organized the rally were the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Taiwan Hong Kong Association, groups resistant to Hong Kong people in Taiwan. The Union for Economic Democracy, Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Covenant Watch, Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, Students for a Free Tibet, Taiwan Labor Front, Taiwan Forever Association, and Taiwan New Constitution Foundation were included. among the other participants. These groups include pillars of Taiwanese civil society, as well as groups representing Tibetans in Taiwan.
Speech by Yang Kang of Covenant Watch. Photo credit: Brian Hioe
About 200 were in attendance, and more participants arrived about half an hour after the rally began. Although under COVID-19 regulations, attendees were also asked to avoid coming in “full gear” – referring to full protest gear, as used at protests in Hong Kong to defend against tear gas – a group of participants arrived wearing black clothes, masks including V for Vendetta masks and carrying Hong Kong independence banners.
Speakers from Taiwanese human rights organizations have called on the Taiwanese government to provide more concrete measures to help Hong Kong people, given that if the Taiwanese government controls Hong Kong protests seeking asylum, it is over. insufficient consideration. Longer-term measures to help Hong Kong people are still lacking, such as when it comes to Hong Kong people having difficulty renting apartments or applying for mobile phone contracts without a residence ID card, and it remains opaque as to the paths for Hong Kongers to obtain residency in Taiwan.
Performance by Panai Kusui. Photo credit: Brian Hioe
Otherwise, speakers highlighted China’s efforts to encroach on media freedoms in Taiwan through “United Front” tactics, spreading misinformation and disinformation through online platforms, and financially influencing the Taiwanese media. . One of the protest demands was also that the 2022 Beijing Olympics should not take place, given China’s human rights violations against Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other places. .
Tibetan activist Tashi Tsering, who lives in Taiwan, carried a Tibetan flag during the rally. In a speech, Tsering spoke about his experience of exile as a second generation Tibetan born in India, and compared it to the situation facing Hong Kong people. Likewise, Tsering spoke of the Chinese government’s attempts to extinguish Tibetan culture and religion.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
Burmese activist Koko Thu, who currently resides in Taiwan and participated in the Burmese democratic movement in 1988, was another speaker. In the comments, he discussed the common struggle for democracy internationally, giving the event a framing of the Milk Tea Alliance.
Indigenous singer-songwriter Panai also performed, singing a song written by her then-sixteen-year-old daughter in 2016 or 2017. Taiwan can consider itself a progressive nation, issues such as those facing the Indigenous people with regard to sovereignty issues, which is not necessarily the case. Panai also sang “Glory to Hong Kong”, one of the best-known songs from the 2019 Hong Kong protests and sometimes referred to as “National Anthem” of a Future Hong Kong, in Cantonese.
Speech by Freddy Lim. Photo credit: Brian Hioe
Many politicians were also present. This included the cohort of Taipei city councilors who came to power in 2018 with backgrounds in post-Sunflower Movement activism, Lin Ying-meng, Meredith Huang, Sabrina Lim and Miao Poya, who spoke about recent events such as the withdrawal of the ROC flag of the AIDA world championship because of complaints from China, and criticized Newly-elected KMT Chairman Eric Chu for letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping after his election victory in which he vowed to uphold the 1992 Consensus. Liao Yu-hsien from the nuclear power plant was also present, speaking in Taiwanese Hokkien.
Among the lawmakers who spoke at the event were Chen Jiau-hua of the NPP, independent Freddy Lim and Hung Sun-han of the DPP. Taiwan Statebuilding Party chairman Shinichi Chen spoke on video, with much of the party in Taichung to prepare for the recall vote against his lawmaker Chen Po-wei. Lim was particularly adamant in calling for support from Hong Kong people, saying it would make Taiwan stronger and that Taiwan should seek to help others in the same way it had been helped itself.
Photo credit: Brian Hioe
The event closed with a speech by academic Wu Rwei-ren. Wu called on the crowd to understand the history of China’s oppression of “ethnic minorities” and its attempts to lead settler colonialism. To this extent, Wu discussed the larger history of the actions of the Chinese Communist Party since the establishment of the PRC and criticized the social divide between urban and rural residents that he maintains. As such, Wu has directly addressed the world’s leftists who idealize China, commenting that China is the real “betrayed revolution”.