Thu, Jul 13, 2017 - Page 1 News List

DPP to mark 30 years since end of martial law

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen, right, and Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung hold fans at a news conference in Taipei yesterday to promote a photo exhibition and concerts scheduled between Friday and Sunday in Taichung to mark the 30th anniversary of the end of martial law.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to mark the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law with a series of events from Saturday.

“In today’s Taiwan, people can take to the streets for social issues, but that was forbidden in the Martial Law era. In today’s Taiwan, people can pen articles criticizing the government, but it was forbidden in the Martial Law era,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee in Taipei.

“Today, we encourage the use of native tongues and legislate for the promotion of ethnic languages, but in the Martial Law era, the so-called dialects were ignored and suppressed,” Tsai said.

Songs that are popular today might have been banned in the past for unlikely reasons, such as late Hoklo singer Kuo Chin-fa’s (郭金發) song about post-war poverty in 1949, which was banned because of its grim lyrics, she said.

“These stories remind us that the freedom and democracy Taiwan enjoys today is not a matter of course. Freedom is not a given and democracy is not a gift from rulers. Everything we have today was won by the struggles of Taiwanese,” the president said.

To commemorate the anniversary is to review the mistakes made in the nation, and safeguard hard-earned freedom and democracy, she said.

The DPP is to hold a music festival, an exhibition and a fair at the Taichung Cultural and Creative Industries Park from Saturday to Monday to mark the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law on July 15, 1987.

The music festival is to feature independent artists and bands performing songs banned or repressed during the Martial Law era.

The exhibition is to display items banned during the period, such as books, recordings and magazines, as well as visual and audio archives documenting democracy movements and campaigners.

Veteran singer and senior DPP official Yu Tian (余天) said that in the 1970s, the government banned several of his songs and he was banned from the stage for a year for making a sexually explicit joke on stage.

One of his songs was banned because of the lyrics: “I was hurt walking on a thorny road,” that was misinterpreted as a political metaphor, but actually referred to life’s struggles, Yu said.

The now-defunct Government Information Office censored television and radio programs and screened live performances, and the office-controlled Confederation of Entertainment Unions banned him from the stage for one year, he said.

“Songs were banned for various reasons. We did not have a clear understanding of the censorship standards. Whatever was determined inappropriate or unconventional would be banned,” he said.

Tsai also reiterated calls for Beijing to allow Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) to receive medical treatment overseas in the country of his choice.

“The news of his [Liu Xiaobo’s] cancer and faltering health has not only concerned us, but the whole world,” the president said.

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