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Blue Birds Fly Again – A Citizen Summer School Launched to Defend Democracy

Taiwan Church Press

3774 Edition

June 24 ~ 30, 2024

Weekly Topical

Blue Birds Fly Again – A Citizen Summer School Launched to Defend Democracy

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong from Taipei

Nearly 10,000 people gathered again on the streets surrounding the Legislative Yuan from June 19thto 21stto carry on the “Blue Bird Action” campaign against the overreach of the Legislative Yuan’s powers. In a vote on June 21st, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) jointly rejected the Executive Yuan’s motion of reconsidering the unconstitutional and inconsistent bill passed by the Legislative Yuan by 62 to 51 votes on May 28th.

Mr Ker Chien-ming, convener of Legislative Yuan DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) Caucus, said that a petition of constitutional interpretation for the over-reached bill would be filed by the DPP administration as soon as possible.

The Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, Taiwan Citizen Front, and Economic Democracy Union, which jointly organized the “Blue Bird Action” and once attracting over a hundred thousand citizens to stand out on Taipei streets, announced that they would implement three major actions in series: first, recruiting volunteers from Taiwan’s 23 counties and cities to carry on the blue bird action for democracy; second, holding citizen summer schools to proclaim democracy across Taiwan; and third, doing the jobs of “Monitoring KMT-TPP Legislators Across Eight Districts Nationwide ” to protect the democracy hardly won and rooted in Taiwan.

Lawyer Lai Chong-chiang, executive representative of the Taiwan Citizen Front, emphasized that the blue bird action was exclusively initiated and driven by enthusiastic citizens and not mobilized by any political party, like DPP and etc. The citizen’s movement is the real social power that would bring up change, Lawyer Lai remarked.

Mr Hsu Guang-che, deputy secretary-general of Taiwan Citizen Front, said that although the Legislative Yuan rejected the Executive Yuan’s motion to review the over-reached bill, this is not the end of game, but a brand new chapter of Taiwan’s democracy.

“In addition to the first bill to over-reach its power that will be reviewed for its compliance to constitution later, there are still seven counter-democratic bills drafted by KMT-TPP that require citizens to stand up and take a close look!”, Mr Hsu warned.

Mr Luo Yi, chief executive of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and a youth member of Taipei Dong-Men Church of Chi-Hsin Presbytery, accused the KMT legislators of succumbing to China’s malicious conspiracy and openly betraying Taiwan. To demonstrate the people’s power to legislators who abuse their power, all citizens would be united across Taiwan to protect democracy in actions, Mr Lo pledged.

Prof Chou Wan-yao, a veteran historian of the Department of History of National Taiwan University, expressed that this three-day “Summer School” held by citizen groups on the streets was similar to the spirit of the Taiwanese Cultural Association originated in 1924 to enlighten Taiwanese people and cultivate Taiwan cultures.

Prof Chou reminded that, as 2024 marks a centennial anniversary of hosting the Summer School by the Taiwanese Cultural Association, it became significant for citizen groups to pay tribute to our freedom-pursuing predecessors with democratic actions and enter campuses to host Summer Schools to equip students with more knowledge of democracy and the post-WWII history of Taiwan.

Mr Hsiao Ren-yoh, deputy leader of the New Taipei Working Team of the Taiwan Citizen Front, pointed out that it will promote the project of ” Supervising KMT-TPP Legislators Across Eight Districts Nationwide ” with an in-depth research into the issues, including the six major harms of the very over-reaching bill, seven other bills that will backtrack Taiwan’s democracy in the near future, as well as the flaws of Taiwan’s political party system, contemporary crisis of democracy and etc.

Mr Hsiao indicated that, in order to let the KMT legislators can hear the most authentic voices from the public, these urgent democratic issues would be discussed in New Taipei, Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Yunlin, Changhua, Nantou, Hualien, Taitung, Kinmen, Matsu and other areas, and would be cooperated with local citizen groups to integrate the resources of all concerned parties. He also emphasized that blue bird action would certainly be a long-term battle, yet for the future of Taiwan he urged all citizens to join the democratic crusade, so that legislators whoever dare to ignore the voice from the grass root will be punished whenever they seek to be re-elected.

In the evening on June 21st, Chi-Nan Church of Chi-Hsin Presbytery held a service of “Prayer for Taiwan”. Quoting Amos 5:18-24, Rev Chen Sih-hao emphasized in his sermon that religious faith should integrate the ideals of fairness and justice of the people. He pointed out that the ancient Israelites were very pious in their religious rituals, but injustice was incredibly rampant among their daily lives. The marginalized were mercilessly exploited and oppressed, he explained, which made God could not tolerate the extravagant festivals and absurd sacrifices of the privileged.

He called on Christians not to get paralyzed in the calendar festivals within the church wall only, but to practice God’s love, righteousness and justice in our community. He praised Chi-Nan Church for its peace-making efforts during the days of political upheaval in Taiwan society and appreciated its Christian demeanor as a model of social justice.

Prof Chen Yue-miao, vice president of the Taiwan Association of University Professors, shared Taiwan’s situation at the prayer meeting. She remarked that Taiwan had an amazing history of 12,000 years and was the mother island of diverse Austronesian language groups. Though as an island with very important cultural inheritances and ecological assets, Prof Chen lamented, but Taiwan’s marvelous history had been deliberately covered up by the KMT’s party-state educational policy.

She called on Taiwanese people to understand their own true history and real identity, and wake up from being continuously misled by the colonial regimes. She pointed out that both the old and new China (the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China respectively) are doing the same bad jobs to oppress and exploit Taiwan. In order to let Taiwan stand up as a sovereign country and has a say in the world, she urged all Taiwanese people to declare and build Taiwan as a new and independent country at this very historical moment.

Before the June 21stprayer meeting ended, a man suddenly broke into the chapel, shouted loudly, and fell to the ground claiming that he had been beaten. The man was eventually taken away by the police. Next day, during the church’s lecture on the history of Bible translation, the same man once again broke into the chapel and made a great noise. Rev Huang Chun-sheng, pastor of Chi-Nan Church, tried to calm him down but failed, finally the police was called in to restore the peace.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

Submitted by:Taiwan Church Press
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