Thu, Apr 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Protest is a democratic right: Wang Ting-yu

PRECIOUS RIGHT The Tainan City councilor and six others proclaimed their innocence in the face of charges stemming from a melee during a Chinese envoy’s October visit

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) yesterday proclaimed his innocence during a hearing ahead of his trial on charges of assaulting a Chinese official.

Wang is charged with inciting supporters to use violence against Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) during his visit to Taiwan last October.

Wang told the Tainan District Court that prosecutors had ignored evidence in his favor and made false accusations against him and other defendants.

The right to protest is one of the precious rights in a democracy and holding a rally is legal and should not be punishable by law, Wang said in the court.

“I was claiming Taiwan is not a part of China during Zhang’s visit to the country, and that was aimed at protecting Taiwan’s interests,” Wang said.

Wang asked the court to summon Zhang during the hearing and said he believed the court would clear his reputation.

Six other people were indicted along with Wang and also claimed their innocence during the hearing.

Defendant Lin Chin-hsun (林進勳) told the court he had received years of anti-Communist education in school and in society. As Chang did not offer an apology for his country’s exports of toxic milk powder to Taiwan, and as he had in the past threatened to attack Taiwan with military force, Lin said he had a right to protest against a communist.

Ho Kuei-hua (何桂花), 70, who was indicted for trying to attack Zhang by hitting his car with a crutch, said she was taught to fight communists and attack China throughout her life.

Therefore when she heard people shouting that the “communists are coming,” she automatically hit Zhang’s car with her crutch.

Wang was indicted on charges of intimidation and assault, with prosecutors asking for a 14-month jail sentence.

Zhang encountered protests from Wang and several pro-­independence supporters during a private visit to Tainan’s Confucius Temple. In the melee, Zhang fell to the ground and was slightly injured.

Prosecutors said video footage from the scene proved that Wang pushed Zhang causing him to fall. They also allege the actions of Wang and his supporters damaged Taiwan’s image.

Prosecutors also said that Lin, who jumped on the roof of Zhang’s car, should receive an eight-month sentence; while Tu Yung-nan (杜永南), Tseng Chao-chi (曾朝枝), Wu Ping-chin (伍平進) and Wang Chen-juei (王貞瑞) should be given six months each for trying to block Zhang’s car by standing in front of it.

Prosecutors asked for a six-month sentence for Ho.

The six were indicted on charges of intimidation, interference and for “overthrowing” democratic values.

More than 100 of Wang’s supporters appeared in front of the district court yesterday.

They shouted “Taiwan go, Taiwan go,” and “No guilt for protest. No guilt for democracy.”

Director of the DPP’s Tainan branch Chen Chin-yi (陳進益), DPP Tainan City Councilor Lee Wen-cheng (李文正) and others also turned up to show support for Wang.

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