Student leader Hung stands up to criticism

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Apr 16, 2014 - Page 3

National Taiwan University student Hung Chung-yen (洪崇晏) yesterday denied being the “mastermind” behind the demonstration outside the Zhongzheng First Police Precinct station on Friday, but showed his support for the cause by attending an event yesterday outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei organized by groups seconding the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan’s petition to make the plaza in front of the legislature a place where people can congregate.

The demonstration outside Taipei’s Zhongzheng First Police Precinct office was triggered by police’s forced eviction of protesters from the plaza — which the alliance had occupied since day one of the students’ seizure of the Legislative Yuan’s chamber — and its subsequent announcement that it had permanently revoked all assembly and parade permits for the group.

Hung yesterday said that he — like the other protesters — went to Friday’s event in response to a call circulating on the Internet earlier that day urging the public to “pass by” the police station.

“If there was a mastermind of the protest, it would be President Ma [Ying-jeou’s, 馬英九] administration and those executive agencies who turned a blind eye to the public’s calls and expressions of dissent,” he said.

“I will not try to avoid any criminal charges I might be accused of for ‘violating’ the unconstitutional Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法). I want to show the ridiculousness of this ‘bad law,’” Hung added.

The clause of the act regarding the need to obtain authorities’ approval before staging a protest was ruled unconstitutional by the Council of Grand Justices earlier this year.

At yesterday’s rally, Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance convener Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) criticized the legislature for failing to hold a scheduled floor meeting yesterday, making it impossible for it to receive the plaza petition.

“What was the point of chasing the students away from the occupied chamber so desperately then?” he asked.

Calling on the legislature to return the plaza to the people, he said that the Legislative Yuan’s front gate did not exist when the 520 Peasant movement broke out in 1988.

“In addition, I petitioned several times for the anti-nuclear cause in the 1990s on the front plaza without applying for a permit,” Kao said, adding that in 1999, the space was also used by hunger-strikers demanding the passage of a referendum act.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Andy Tung (董建宏) said the space in front of the legislature’s building should be used to enable public participation, instead of muting people’s voices.

Hung also underlined the need for the public to keep demanding that the government probe the forced dispersion of alliance protesters.

“This case should not simply end with the police reinstating the alliance’s right to assembly,” he said, adding that someone has to be held accountable for the erroneous decision.

Rebuffing accusations that he harbors a grudge against the police, Hung said that he has supported the establishment of a police labor union since last year, when he took to the streets with officers’ families to call for better treatment of law enforcement personnel.