Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Wild Lilies slam use of lily symbol

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A dozen former participants of the 1990s Wild Lily Student Movement (野百合學運) yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of exploiting the wild lily icon for its own purposes.

"The wild lily we see now [at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall] is not the same as the wild lily of the student movement," said Ho Tung-hung (何東洪), now an associate professor of psychology at Fu Jen Catholic University, when approached for comment at a reunion with other former members of the movement in front of the hall.

The Wild Lily Student Movement was launched in the early 1990s in an effort to force changes in the then Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

Using a wild lily as a spiritual symbol, the movement drew tens of thousands of people -- mostly college students -- to what was known at the time as Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to call for changes including dismissing the National Assembly, abolishing the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款), holding a high-level national policy conference and drawing up a reform timetable.

"This is a wild lily that has been `green-ified,'" Ho said yesterday. referring to the hall's wild lily symbol, which features a green background.

"The real wild lilies are those that sprout independently all over the place," Ho said.

The decade-long wrangling between the DPP and the KMT has turned the two parties into two "huge national institutions" that plague the nation and its people, Ho said.

Many people are unable to express their opinions as "all of the channels are monopolized by the parties," he said.

Ho said it is very "ironic" for the DPP government to take the wild lily for its own use as a symbol of the hall because the DPP has forgotten that its opposition to the KMT's former authoritarianism was thanks to the participation of many people.

In response, Ministry of Education Secretary-general Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮) yesterday said people must understand the wild lily symbol is a "collective icon" in Taiwan's democratic movement, comparing it to the Statue of Liberty in the US.

"The symbol should not and does not belong solely to a certain group or party. It represents the will of the people," he said, adding the public must remember that the ministry and the DPP are separate entities and that the ministry does not speak for the party.

He said the pictures of the Wild Lily Student Movement are only a part of the human rights exhibit available in the hall right now. There is much more to Taiwan's democratic struggle than the student movement, he said.

Additional reporting by Jenny W. Hsu

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