A special exhibition about a fierce crackdown on a peaceful campaign for democracy during the Japanese colonial period under the Peace Order and Police Act (POPA, 治安警察法) was launched yesterday in a former Japanese-era police station in Taipei.
Commonly known as the “POPA Incident” (治警事件), the crackdown began on Dec. 16, 1923, when the then-Japanese governor-general of Taiwan ordered the arrests of Taiwanese civil rights activists involved in a campaign for the creation of an elected representative body.
As many as 99 leaders of the movement — including Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), Tsai Pei-huo (蔡培火) and Wang Min-chuan (王敏川) — were arrested, interrogated, detained or jailed during the crackdown.
“Although the POPA Incident is a very important event, many people do not know about it, partially because of a lack of historical documents,” Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) said at the exhibition’s opening ceremony. “With pictures and documents donated by private collectors, we are now able to get a more in-depth view of the incident.”
Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation chairman Yen Wen-hsi (顏文熙) said the crackdown happened after Taiwanese activists held demonstrations in Tokyo, not only petitioning for political representation, but also protesting the heavy-handed rule of the governor-general in Taiwan.
“The activists even went as far as directly petitioning to former Japanese emperor Hirohito when he traveled to Taiwan as crown prince,” Yen said.
While the activists were found not guilty at a first court appearance, Chiang and Tsai were sentenced to four months in prison by the court of appeals.
Newspapers were asked not to report on the crackdown by the police, while public telecommunications services with the outside world were also temporarily cut.
Liberty Times Group chairman Wu A-ming (吳阿明), who attended the ceremony, said: “What is right and what is wrong can only be decided by future generations after a news event becomes history.”
“When [the activists] were arrested by the Japanese police, Taiwanese may have thought the activists worked for the good of Taiwan, but people who worked for the government at the time may have considered them traitors,” Wu added.
The exhibition is being held at the former Taipei North Police Station at 87 Ningxia Rd, Datong District, Taipei City, and will run until Nov. 5.
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical
‘ORDINARY PEOPLE’: A man watching Taiwanese military drills said that there would be nothing anyone could do if the situation escalates in the Taiwan Strait Many people in Taiwan look upon China’s military exercises over the past week with calm resignation, doubting that war is imminent and if anything, feeling pride in their nation’s determination to defend itself. After a visit to Taiwan last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has sent ships and aircraft across an unofficial buffer between Taiwan and China’s coast and missiles over Taipei and into waters surrounding the nation since Thursday last week. However, Rosa Chang, proudly watching her son take part in Taiwanese military exercises that included dozens of howitzers firing shells into the Taiwan Strait off