The Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to designate April 7 as Freedom of Speech Day in Taiwan, with the goal of helping the people of Taiwan gain a better understanding of the value of freedom of speech.
The proposal was put forward by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) based on a promise made by President Tsai Ing-wen (???) in April at an event to mark the 27th anniversary of the death of pro-democracy pioneer Cheng Nan-jung (???).
On April 7, 1989, Cheng, then editor-in-chief of Freedom Era Weekly, set himself on fire as heavily armed police attempted to break into his office following his 71 days of self-imposed isolation after he was charged with insurrection for printing a draft "Republic of Taiwan Constitution" in his magazine in 1988.
At the time, Article 100 of the Criminal Code still banned the advocacy of replacing the Republic of China constitution with a new charter to mark the founding of a new nation, with the convicted mastermind liable to be sent to prison for life.
That article was amended in 1992, making it punishable only when the implementation of such advocacy involves the use of violence.
In Thursday's Cabinet meeting, Premier Lin said freedom and democracy are core values of Taiwan's and were achieved through the efforts of many pro-democracy activists over the years.
Cheng's self-immolation, which gained international attention, was a watershed in Taiwan's political reform because it helped people to better understand the importance of freedom of speech, Lin said.
Against that background, the Cabinet approved the MOI's proposal to designate April 7 as Freedom of Speech Day and thus allow the Taiwanese people to gain a better appreciation of the meaning and value of freedom of speech, Lin said.
He said various government agencies will organize activities on the inaugural Freedom of Speech Day on April 7, 2017 to interpret its meaning and deepen Taiwan's democracy.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel