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Civic groups stage 'unfair games' in Labor Day protest

2012/05/01 17:22:57

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday in front of the Presidential Office for a Labor Day protest that took the form of various skits and games that highlighted what they called deteriorating working conditions in Taiwan.

The civic groups that organized the protest said they were using satire to draw public attention to labor issues such as low salaries, overwork and a controversial tax system.

Instead of a march as in the past, the Labor Day event featured a series of sports games that were skewed against the participants representing workers.

For instance, in a shot put game competition between "corporations and laborers," the latter were given heavier shots to symbolize what the organizers said was an unfair tax system.

The games were dubbed "Sports games for the BOMB Generation," borrowing from a book called "BOMB Generation," which predicted Taiwanese society would fall into chaos by 2030 if the existing problems are not resolved.

"What we guarantee the public is an absolutely unfair game, just as our government has promised," said Wang Jung-chang, spokesman of the Alliance for Fair Tax Reform.

Wang, along with labor rights activists from the Taiwan Labor Front and the Youth Labor Union 95, called for tax reform that would ensure everyone is taxed based on their financial ability.

"We want a fair capital gains tax because the current policies favor the rich at the expense of workers," said Son Yu-liam, secretary-general of Taiwan Labor Front.

In addition, Son said, the problems of long working hours, high student loan repayments, a widening wealth gap and rising consumer prices need to be addressed in order to improve people's living standards.

Lin Thung-hong, co-author of "BOMB Generation," said he was pleased to see the concept applied in a Labor Day protest.

"People born in the 1970s, like I was, are the main victims of the unfair social policies," Lin said. "We can no longer stand the exploitation, and the government needs to know that."

The groups said if President Ma Ying-jeou does not respond to their appeals after he is sworn in for a second term on May 20, they would take more action.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)