Tue, Jun 07, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Two arrested for burning ROC flag

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Police extinguish a burning Republic of China flag set alight by pro-independence demonstrators yesterday afternoon outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office building.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Two pro-independence demonstrators were arrested yesterday after burning a Republic of China (ROC) flag outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, in an act of civil disobedience to protest the conviction of a flag-burning demonstrator last year.

About 20 protesters from the Taiwan Republic Campaign, Free Taiwan Party and other groups gathered outside the building, burning printouts of ROC flags that were altered to make it appear that the flag’s white-starred blue canton was peeling away to reveal the yellow stars of the People’s Republic of China flag.

Police intervened when demonstrators began to burn actual ROC flags, wresting a fire pan and flags from demonstrators before arresting Chen Miao-ting (陳妙婷) and Namoh Nofu Pacidal for disturbing public order and desecrating the national flag.

As the police made the arrests, demonstrators shouted slogans that flag burning was a justifiable part of realizing transitional justice.

Under the Criminal Code, desecrating the national flag is punishable with up to one year in prison.

“We want to make burning the Republic of China flag an everyday occurrence and a national movement to make Taiwanese wake up and overturn the ROC,” Chen said.

She said that campaigners would post online videos of flag burning around the nation every day that her boyfriend, Chen Yi-ting (陳儀庭), serves in prison.

“We want Chen Yi-ting to know that he is not alone and that this colonial regime cannot look down on Taiwanese and think that no one will protest if they put someone away,” Chen Miao-ting added.

Chen Yi-ting was sentenced to 20 days in prison earlier this year for burning two flags at a news conference at the 228 Peace Memorial Park on Oct. 28 last year, when he and several others took credit for slashing more than 40 flags along Zhongzheng Bridge (中正橋) in Taipei on Oct. 10, Double Ten National Day.

Chen Miao-ting said Chen Yi-ting was arrested yesterday after refusing to report to prison to start serving his sentence for about two months.

Chen Miao-ting and Chen Yi-ting also face charges for allegedly spray-painting slogans about China’s cultural “united front” tactics on statues of Chinese zodiac animals at the National Palace Museum Southern Branch in December last year.

“We are warning the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that it is continuing the Chinese Nationalist Party’s [KMT] exiled regime in Taiwan,” Namoh Nofu said.

“We do not recognize that regime and we do not have any responsibility to bear with the oppression of the sentences it imposes,” he said.

“If this was really the national flag, we would defend it with our lives — but it is not,” Taiwan Republic Campaign founder Peter Wang (王獻極) said, slamming public officials for using the “party flag” of the KMT to “bully” Taiwanese.

The ROC flag incorporates the official KMT party flag in one corner as a white-starred blue canton.

Free Taiwan Party Chairman Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said that freedom to burn ROC flags was important because it represented an easy way to express opposition to the ROC constitutional order, which independence activists advocate abolishing in favor of a new Taiwanese constitution.

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