March held to mark 40th anniversary of Kaohsiung Incident - Focus Taiwan

March held to mark 40th anniversary of Kaohsiung Incident

Kaohsiung, Dec. 7 (CNA) Several civic groups held a march Saturday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kaohsiung Incident, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), several lawmakers, and human rights activists from Taiwan and abroad participating.

At the event, organized by the Defend Democracy Safeguard Taiwan Alliance, Taiwan Society and other civic groups, the participants marched around the Formosa Boulevard Station of the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system.

President Tsai joined the march briefly before heading to another event, while lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the New Power Party also took part.

Other notable participants included representatives from the United Kingdom-based Amnesty International, human rights activists Klaus H. Walter of Germany, and Masahiro Watarida and Takayuki Munakata of Japan.

(President Tsai Ing-wen [center])

The Kaohsiung Incident was a government crackdown on a pro-democracy demonstration in the southern Taiwan city on Dec. 10, 1979, during the period of authoritarian rule by the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT).

The protests were deemed a revolt against the government, and anyone caught was at risk of facing the death penalty, former Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said at Saturday's march.

Many of the protesters who were arrested and imprisoned later went on to become leading figures in the DPP, said Chang, who served as legal counsel for several victims in 1979 and became premier in the late 2000s.

Among the victims of the Kaohsiung Incident were former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former DPP Chairmen Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介), who were tried in a military court and sentenced to long prison terms, Chang said.

Although the incident now remains a distant memory, the people of Taiwan today should cherish their hard-won democracy, freedom of speech and human rights, Chang said.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Chen Chi-feng and Ko Lin)

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