Young Taiwanese Fear Authoritarian Revival

Current action taken by Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jiu to establish closer ties with China as well as increased restrictions on public demonstration are leaving young Taiwanese worried about a possible retreat in the development of Taiwan’s democracy. The Taipei Times reports:

Because of the arbitrariness of police action and how unclear the rules about what constitutes a violation of the law have become, “we don’t know what to expect. We don’t know if we’ll be arrested.”

For many of them, such police action is new, as they were too young to remember when the nation was still under martial law.

“Look at the [anti Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)] demonstrations by the ‘Red Shirts’ last year,” one said. “They were allowed to demonstrate for months, to camp at [Taipei Main Station] and the police didn’t bother them.”

“We’re pretty pessimistic,” another said. “Maybe some of us want to be arrested. It feels like it’s martial law all over again. Perhaps what the Ma government is doing by cracking down on dissent and freedom of speech is preparing the terrain” for a Taiwan that is part of China.

In addition, Ma has also been accused of playing media favorites by only allowing certain media outlets to attend certain events. A group of pro-independence activists even inaugurated the Taiwanese Youth Anti-Communist National Salvations Corps who are worried about the direction Taiwan’s democracy is headed.

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