Holding up blank sheets of paper, over 100 people on Sunday gathered in Taipei to express support for the protesters in several Chinese cities that recently gathered in public to call for the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and political reform in China.
“We should support them in fighting for what they deserve. That’s why we organized,” said Lin Ting-yu (林庭妤), one of the two organizers of the rally, referring to the protesters in China who demonstrated after COVID-19 restrictions reportedly delayed rescue efforts for a deadly fire on Nov. 24 in Urumqi, Xinjiang, leading to at least 10 deaths and nine injuries.
“It’s our duty as humans to support people fighting for their human rights,” said Lin.
Lin, a local university student, along with rally co-organizer Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻), also set up a Facebook page called “A4 revolution,” a reference to the blank pieces of paper held up by some of the protesters during their protests to represent their discontent.
The main purpose of the page is to publish information from Taiwan and all over the world about the “A4 revolution” to let people understand what is happening in China and to attract more attention to the movement’s issues, Wu said.
In addition to representatives of several non-government organizations, dozens of people including high school students and foreign nationals also attended the event, which was held on Liberty Square in Taipei.
“I came here because I am very sympathetic towards Chinese people living in a communist society where they do not have freedom and democracy. Since we can’t go to China to join their protests, we can at least stand up to voice our support,” a 15-year-old student surnamed Chu (朱) told CNA.
Keith, an American who lives in Taiwan, praised the bravery of the Chinese people who took to the streets in a rare showing of opposition to government rule.
“I am here to stand in solidarity with people in China trying to express their own rights of self-determination and to change their situation for the better,” said Keith. “It’s very brave what they’re doing. I just want to show my support.”
Jonathan Seidman, another American national living in Taiwan, said that the reports of the protests that had broken out across China in last week were very “moving” because a lot of people tended to have an impression that protests do not happen in China anymore.
“People’s feelings and confidence have been crushed so long and so hard that it just doesn’t happen,” Seidman said.
“To see this is a reminder for me that humans need freedom. No matter how powerful and oppressive the government or the authority, [this need] will leak through, it will come out when pushed hard enough,” he added.
Will, a National Taiwan University student who is from the United States, said that he felt that it was his responsibility to “stand up for people who don’t have a voice or who have been deprived of their rights even if it’s in a small way.”
Tashken Davlet, an outreach specialist with the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, said he wished that more people in Taiwan knew about the “Uyghur genocide and the nature of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“We stand in solidarity for those are suppressed and deprived of freedom” because this was what Taiwanese have been through during the country’s authoritarian period in the past, said Davlet, who is a Taiwanese-Uyghur activist.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel