Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Freedom calls for persistence

The Liberty Square main gate on Jan. 1, 2013
How quickly people forget that the freedoms they enjoy in Taiwan today are the direct result of young, idealistic individuals who defied the authorities not so long ago 

While tens of thousands of people rejoiced at various venues around the nation on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the arrival of 2013, a few hundred people, the majority of them students, huddled at Liberty Square in Taipei and later in front of the Presidential Office, to show their concern for the future of their country. 

Braving cold temperatures, the young Taiwanese held their fourth protest in little more than a month, and the fifth since September, against the threat of media monopolization and growing Chinese influence within the industry. 

As Taipei 101 and other landmarks lit up with colorful fireworks at the strike of midnight, those young Taiwanese were discussing media freedoms and listening to speeches by academics and other influential figures under the watchful eye of police officers. 

After nine hours at Liberty Square, the protesters adjourned to a spot in front of the Presidential Office, where they launched a second sit-in, as rows of police officers bearing riot shields looked on. Behind the centurions, thousands of people who had trickled in since midnight in preparation for yesterday’s flag-raising ceremony and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) New Year address, assembled before the Presidential Office. 

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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