Dozens of Taiwan independence advocates yesterday successfully challenged a ban against symbolic independence flags at the Taipei Summer Universiade closing ceremony, while pension reform opponents dropped their protest plans after a public outcry.
Shouting “One China, One Taiwan” and “Taiwan is not Chinese Taipei,” members of the Taiwan Radical Wings Party, Free Taiwan Party and other groups held up their closing ceremony tickets as they worked their way slowly through a long corridor of police officers while waving green independence flags.
They were repeatedly stopped, but were eventually allowed through the security checkpoint outside the Taipei Municipal Stadium on the condition that each person carry only one flag.
The Taipei City Government had banned spectators from taking “political material” into the event, with a Taipei Times reporter confronted by police for holding an independence leaflet.
The leaflets, which were being handed out outside the security checkpoint, mocked a city government decision to allow small Republic of China (ROC) flags into the venue.
While one side was emblazoned with a ROC flag, the upper left corner of the flag could be lifted to reveal the five stars of the People’s Republic of China flag. The opposite side of the page called for the establishment of a “Taiwan republic.”
While it had previously been reported that symbolic Taiwanese flags would not be considered “political material,” police at the Universiade opening ceremony confiscated large numbers of flags.
“Taiwanese deserve to have their own nation and not to be forced into the ‘Chinese Taipei’ formula,” protesters said. “We are here because other countries are not going to speak for us. Only if we speak for ourselves will they know that we consider ourselves Taiwanese.”
A small group of counter-protesters waving ROC flags also demonstrated outside the Taipei Municipal Stadium, with two men carted away by police officers after attempting to break through with a large ROC flag.
The closing ceremony was also marked by an absence of the pension reform protesters who disrupted the opening ceremony on Aug. 19, sparking a massive public outcry.
Taiwan Civil Service Innovation Coalition members instead passed out pamphlets thanking government workers for their efforts hosting the Games.
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