Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ko says room for improvement in music event, rejects ‘united front’ accusations

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, center, holds up a can of white paint while issuing a report on post-Taipei Summer Universiade work to the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said there was room for improvement in the handling of a music event at National Taiwan University that drew protests and ended in violence, but added that he cannot accept people calling him a partner in China’s “united front.”

The “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival” was a result of memorandums of understanding on cultural and arts events signed by Taipei and Shanghai in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

It was scheduled to run for eight hours on Sept. 24 at the university’s athletic field, but was canceled after two hours, following protests by students and pro-Taiwanese independence groups.

As the crowd dispersed, three students were allegedly injured off-campus by members of a pro-unification group.

In an ad hoc session to discuss the case at Taipei City Hall yesterday, Ko said that according to standard operating procedures, there was no negligence by the city government, but added that there was room for improvement.

The city government’s “low political sensitivity” and the deployment of police need improvement, he said.

Owing to the principle of university autonomy, police cannot be deployed on campuses, but the police station head and the officer who received calls about the violence failed to confirm that the incident took place off-campus, which caused delay in dealing with the situation, Ko said, adding that they have both been punished.

“Taiwan has freedom of speech, but not the freedom of hitting people,” Ko said, adding that while the suspects have been turned over to the court for prosecution, discussion is needed on whether the police can deploy officers on campuses during large protests.

As some protesters said the city government had yielded to China’s united front tactics by agreeing to hold the show, Ko said that “criticizing the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Ko Wen-je as partners of communists who cooperate with their united front tactics is something that we cannot accept.”

Meanwhile, Ko said the city’s Construction Management Office should add “completion report date” and “examination date” columns on the temporary construction permit registration form to avoid the safety problems associated with illegal construction.

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