Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Groups to protest pro-unification rally

DEFENDING FREEDOM:One city councilor said many people feel they cannot sit idly by as the pro-China groups abuse the freedom of speech in their proxy work for China

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Taichung City councilors Lin Te-yu, left, and Lin Chi-feng hold placards in Taichung yesterday urging the city’s police department to revoke the approval of a pro-unification demonstration.

Photo: Huang Chung-shan, Taipei Times

A group of civic organizations is to stage a counterdemonstration to a rally by pro-unification parties in Taichung today.

Legal experts and advocacy groups have criticized Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) and Taichung police for approving the rally organized by the China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) and the Association for China’s Peaceful Unification, during which national flags of the People’s Republic of China are to be prominently displayed.

Controversy has been simmering over the rally, which was in media focus again yesterday following the deportation of the intended key speaker, Chinese academic Li Yi (李毅), who has advocated for China to invade Taiwan by force.

Taichung City Councilor Huang Shou-ta (黃守達) of the Democratic Progressive Party said that he had been working with a coalition of civic groups and pro-Taiwanese independence organizations to prepare a counterdemonstration.

“We received many calls from people who want to take part because our democracy and freedom are in jeopardy, and they want to see a strong response to pro-China events,” he said.

The pro-China groups “are abusing Taiwan’s freedom of speech in their proxy work for China, and their rally is to promote Beijing’s annexation of Taiwan under the ‘one country, two systems’ model,” Huang said.

“Many people felt that we cannot just sit idly by, but should have a counterdemonstration to defend Taiwan’s democracy and free society,” he added.

More than a dozen groups are to depart from Taiwan Boulevard Section 9 and march to the old Taichung Railway Station and around downtown, Huang said.

The coalition is to include Cosmopolitan Culture Action Taichung (CCAT); student groups from National Taichung University of Education and Providence University; the New Power Party; and the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, among others, he said.

“We would like to see a massive turnout to welcome the pro-China groups to Taichung. Taiwanese must speak up for our values of freedom and democracy; we cannot just promote China’s views through the CUPP and their affiliated groups,” CCAT director Yang Chung-li (楊宗澧) said.

Legal experts have said that the Taichung City Government should not have granted the permit to the pro-China groups, because they are clearly working on behalf of Beijing in contravention of the National Security Act (國家安全法).

Article 2.1 of the act stipulates that “people are prohibited from carrying on detection, collection, consignation or delivery of any confidential documents, pictures, information or articles, or developing an organization for official use of a foreign country or mainland China, for its militaries, party duties or other official organizations, or the institutions established and specified by the foresaid organizations, or the civil groups entrusted by the foresaid organizations.”

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