Monday, April 08, 2013

Young Taiwanese taking increasing interest in activist Deng Nan-jung’s life and death

Deng, aka Nylon Cheng (left) at a rally in Taipei
Among the visitors at the memorial hall was a student from China, who bought paraphernalia and spoke briefly 

An increasing number of young Taiwanese are taking an interest in the life and tragic end of Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), the executive director of the foundation named after the late democracy activist said yesterday on the 24th anniversary of Deng’s death by self-immolation. 

The mood at the Deng Liberty Foundation, located on the recently renamed Freedom Lane in Taipei, was one of introspection as groups of people yesterday came to pay their respects to the former editor-in-chief of Freedom Era Weekly (自由時代週刊). Facing charges of sedition for his calls on the government to protect freedom of expression, Deng set himself ablaze in his office on April 7, 1989. 

Ten years later, the same office, which by then had been turned into a human rights memorial hall, was opened to the public, showcasing a collection of photographs of Deng and other activists who fought for freedom in Taiwan under martial law. Hauntingly, Deng’s office remains as it was found after he committed the ultimate sacrifice, a reminder of a not-so-distant past. 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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