On the fourth anniversary of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) imprisonment on corruption charges on Sunday, several pro-localization groups and US-based Taiwanese expatriates are scheduled to stage concerts in Taiwan and the US to show their support for the former president and protest what they call “the ordeal of Chen’s wrongful incarceration.”
At 6pm on Sunday, several groups, including the Ketagalan Foundation and Taiwan Society Hakka, are to jointly hold an evening concert at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei.
Nearly 200 prominent Hakka people, including Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) and Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology chairman Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌), are expected to attend the event, during which the former president is to be honored with an award for “Best Contribution to Hakka Community” for his long-time advocacy for the ethnic group.
The former president has been hospitalized at Taipei Veterans General Hospital since Sept. 21. His son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), will accept the award on his behalf.
“During his term as Taipei mayor, Chen Shui-bian worked to facilitate Hakka-language education and established a Hakka radio station. After he took office [in 2000,] he set up the Hakka Affairs Council as well as colleges of Hakka studies and Hakka research centers at various universities,” former Taiwan Hakka Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森) said.
“The former president’s long-time dedication and relentless efforts to protect the Hakka group are why we decided to present him with this award. We also hope the award will bring comfort to the former president,” Chang said.
Chang said the event would feature a blessing ceremony for the former president, with his daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) staging a piano solo in honor of him.
Meanwhile, several US-based Taiwanese expatriates are also to hold a musical forum at the Taiwan Center in Flushing, New York, at 4pm local time on Sunday, to voice support for the former president and call for judicial justice.
In response to the scheduled events, Chen Shui-bian’s office said yesterday that it was the darkest day for Taiwan’s human rights and judicial system on Nov. 11, 2008, when the former president was wrongfully prosecuted and imprisoned.
“Having been forced to endure four years of judicial ordeal, the former president has yet to be exonerated and regain his freedom. Even though his health condition is critical, he is repeatedly denied medical parole,” the office said, adding that former US representative Tom Tancredo is also to take part in the Taipei event to lend support to the former president.