Standing in front of a huge collage depicting the first pro-democracy demonstration held in 1978 in Kaohsiung County, a number of one-time democracy activists, now high-ranking government officials, yesterday got together for a book release, and recalled the days when they were participating in Taiwan's democratic movement.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday afternoon held a news conference at Taipei's Red House Theater to release a two-volume book that records the course of Taiwan's democratic movement from 1975 to 2000.
The book, Green Era: 25 years of Taiwan's Democratic Movement (
The tomes gather about 1,800 pictures and nearly 350,000 characters to give a historical panorama of the democracy movement, from movement pioneer Kuo Yu-hsin's (郭雨新) first participation in an election in 1975, to the transfer of power from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to the DPP in 2000.
Many democracy movement activists and senior newspaper and magazine photographers offered their photo collections to help give birth to the albums, Chang said.
"The two volumes took us four years to collect material, and two years to finish," Chang said. "This book is dedicated to the anonymous heroes and heroines who contributed their youth and effort to Taiwan's democracy."
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun, former Council of Labor Affairs chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊), and DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋), as well as many people who participated in the tangwai ("outside the party," 黨外) movement attended the news conference and shared their memories.
Skimming through the albums, Hsieh said that seeing the old pictures made him feel as if he were talking to himself in the past.
"My volunteering to serve as a defense attorney in the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979 was because I wanted to voice that the democracy movement in Taiwan should not be guilty in Taiwan," Hsieh said.
"In terms of our society, which enjoys freedom of speech and participation in elections, what we need today is faith -- faith in the government, in the legal systems and in people," Hsieh said.
Hsieh said that the DPP is now encountering some criticism over the government's performance, and that he was willing to promise people he would support reforms in the party and the Cabinet.
"But I also want to urge the public to support the `six reforms' launched by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), which really need help to achieve an outcome," Hsieh said.
DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who also volunteered as a defense attorney of the Kaohsiung Incident, said all DPP members should learn lessons from the fact that the KMT lost its power because it overlooked people's desire for reform, and urged them to keep working for reform.