314 Tibet protest in Taipei

More than 1,000 people marched through the East District of Taipei today to mark the 51st anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising. The date of 14 March also commemorates the protests in Tibet in 2008 that were met with bloody repression. Members of the Tibetan community in Taiwan and various human rights groups participated in the march.

There were numerous speakers before the march started. Among them Freddy Lim who noted that a few years ago the numbers joining the annual march were very small, but in the last few years it has become quite large. Other speakers included DPP legislator Chen Jie-ru (陳節如) and President of Taiwan Friends of Tibet Chow Mei-li (周美里). Continue reading

Taiwan screens film and defends freedom

2009 10 01_10-conditions-of-love_6910

The Ten Conditions of Love, documentary about exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, screened at Da’an Park in Taipei tonight. It was part of an event  organised by Luo Wen-jia’s Movement magazine (二次黨外雜志) and the Taiwan Friends of Tibet (台灣圖博之友會) that saw the documentary screened simultaneously in five Taiwanese cities. The screening follows a controversy which earlier saw the documentary withdrawn from the Kaohsiung Film Festival. It was later reinstated in the film festival and also screened in Kaohsiung last week.

2009 10 01_10-conditions-of-love_6915

Former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) attended the screening and is seen in the above photo with Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉). The outdoor theatre area had a packed crowd. And although some prominent members of the DPP were present the event was not like an election campaign rally. It was an occasion for everyone, regardless of which political party they might support, to come together and show that they valued the freedom to be able to watch this film.  Continue reading

Dalai Lama arrives in Taiwan

The Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan on a China Airlines flight from Delhi late last night. He was welcomed by Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu before taking a specially chartered high speed train to Kaohsiung. Given the short time frame between the Dalai Lama’s invitation and his arrival in Taiwan it is not surprising there have been some changes to his schedule. However, many of these changes may have been for political rather than practical reasons.

Today’s Liberty Times (自由時報) has an article titled, “Friends of Tibet blames Ma for restricting Dalai Lama’s activities” (台灣圖博批馬 限制達賴活動). I have translated the first part of the article.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Taiwan late last night. Compared to the Dalai Lama’s respects and good wishes, Taiwan’s has shown its hospitality by cancelling the press conference and public speech in Taoyuan. The venue of the public speech in Kaohsiung has also been changed.  Chow Mei-li, President of Taiwan Friends of Tibet, indignantly blamed Ma Ying-jeou for his double-handed tactics. On the one hand he respected public opinion by allowing the Dalai Lama to come, on the other hand he restricted the Dalai Lama’s entire schedule in Taiwan. Chow said, “This is definitely a result of pressure from the Chinese Communist Party. It is becoming more apparent that the Ma government is not acting autonomously, it is not even a good puppet emperor!”

Continue reading

Will Ma meet the Dalai Lama?

dalai-lama-president-taiwan

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is set to visit Taiwan next week to provide comfort to the victims of the Typhoon Morakot. He was invited by DPP city and county chiefs in Southern Taiwan. President Ma Ying-jeou subsequently gave his approval for the visit. In December last year Ma rejected the possibility of the Dalai Lama visiting Taiwan even though no formal invitation had been issued at the time. However, with his approval rating plummeting in the wake of the central government’s inept response to the typhoon Ma couldn’t afford to say no this time. It was a smart political move by the DPP.

I took the above photo of a poster at the 50 years of Tibet in Exile exhibition that was held at Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall in July this year. I think it is interesting on a number of levels. First it shows the Dalai Lama meeting various world leaders including several Presidents of Taiwan and the USA. However, under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act it is not possible for the Presidents of the USA and Taiwan to meet each other in person.

The Dalai Lama previously visited Taiwan in 1997 and 2001. The photo shows the Dalai Lama meeting with the three most recent Presidents of Taiwan. Lee Teng-hui, presumably on the Dalai Lama’s first visit to Taiwan in 1997. The Dalai Lama met Chen Shui-bian on his second visit to Taiwan in 2001. The KMT actually prevented Chen from meeting the Dalai Lama when he was the Mayor of Taipei in 1997. Lastly the photo of the Dalai Lama meeting Ma Ying-jeou who is now the President, but I presume the photo was taken in 2001 when Ma was the Mayor of Taipei.

Of course the big question now is whether Ma Ying-jeou, as the incumbent President, will meet with the Dalai Lama this time. Sadly there seems to be no chance for former President Chen Shui-bian to meet the Dalai Lama this time as he is still being held in detention waiting for the verdict in his trial to be handed down on 11 September.

Free Tibet concerts in Taipei

free-tibet-concert-fire-ex

Thousands of people attended a Free Tibet Concert (西藏自由音樂會) held in the Xinyi District of Taipei yesterday. When the concert began at 1:30pm under blue skies and a scorching hot sun the crowd was quite small. However, by the late afternoon the crowd swelled.

The line up of bands represented some of Taiwan’s finest indie music. From start to finish the bands were:  KoOk, Enno Cheng (鄭宜農), Shoo Band (恕樂團), Chang Jui-chuan (張睿銓), Aphasia (阿飛西雅), Panai (巴奈), Dog G (大支), Fire Ex (滅火器), ChthoniC (閃靈) and LTK Commune (濁水溪公社).

free-tibet-concert-crowd

Many young people attended the concert and Freddy Lim said in a speech that he wanted to show that the youth of Taiwan have ideas and a voice. Although the concert was about Tibet, a number of other important human rights issued were mentioned by performers. There were a few flags of East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang) in the crowd and the violence and oppression there was often mentioned. Continue reading

Summer of music

aphasia-the-wall-2424-1

Aphasia at The Wall on 14 June 2009

Summer has well and truly arrived and it brings with it an awesome line up of summer music events. Music festivals and other special events will see several major international acts perform as well as a huge number of Taiwanese bands. The events are not just limited to Taipei either, there are also festivals in Yilan, Kaohsiung and Miaoli. I have listed the events in chronological order.

The Grass Festival (第三屆草地音樂節) is on 4-5 July at the  Daxi Elementary School in Yilan County. It has an awesome line up of Taiwan indie bands over the two days including Aphasia (阿飛西雅), LTK Commune (濁水溪公社), 88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽) and Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤).

u-loud-2009The U-Loud Music Festival (有料音樂祭) has events in both Kaohsiung and Taipei. On 4 July it’s on at Pier 2 Arts District in Kaohsiung (高雄駁二藝術特區). The line up includes three Kaohsiung bands KoOk, Shy Kick Apple (害羞踢蘋果) and Fire Ex (滅火器) along with Clione-Index from Japan, Silverbus, Chang Jui-chuan, Orangegrass (橙草) and Sugar Plum Ferry (甜梅號).
Continue reading

Thousands march for Tibet in Taipei

Free Tibeb protester in Taipei

Three thousand people marched through the  streets of Taipei today to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising which was on 10 March. Today also marked one year since major protests in Tibet which led to a brutal crackdown by the Chinese government. The march, which began at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station, was led by Tibetans living in Taiwan and Taiwan Friends of Tibet. A wide range of groups participated including the Presbyterian Church, Cheng Nan-jung Foundation and the DPP.

free tibet panda and freddy lim in taipei

Members of Guts United (逆轉本部), including Freddy Lim, marched with a person dressed in a panda suit. Some of them wore t-shirts saying “Panda is from Tibet”. Continue reading