Taiwan: The Phantom of Police State is Back, Officially

The visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chair Chen Yunlin marks a historic moment in cross strait relations. Chen is the highest ranking official of the PRC ever to visit Taiwan. His five day visit to Taiwan includes talks on economic and transport links.

While some welcomed his visit many Taiwanese were extremely concerned that it threatened the nation's sovereignty. It comes after newly elected President Ma Ying-jeou told a Mexican magazine in August that relations between Taiwan and China were between two regions. This downgraded the state to state formulations made during the terms of the two previous Presidents, Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui.

Chen arrived in Taiwan on Monday 3 November. Approximately 7,000 police were mobilised to prevent any protests. However, the actions of police went far beyond merely preventing any disruptions to Chen's visit. Bloggers had plenty of comments on the actions of the police.

CoffeeShop was one of three women who were assaulted and detained by police for carrying Tibetan flags. She wrote:




I'm so afraid and I've never felt so afraid before. Up until 1:30 at night my hands are still shaking; my eyes are hurting but still looking at the screen and I must get my experience and fears written down.

I sincerely request every blogger and online friend to read this. Don't use every kind of action to go out and protest against Chen Yunlin and the police.

Because, Taiwanese people, I'm afraid the next one to be on the receiving end of this kind of violence will be you. I'm really scared.

Du Gu Mu(獨孤木) @ disappearing ROC asked if legal gatherings can make Chen Yunlin understand Taiwan's democracy.

他媽的民進黨就算打了一萬個共匪好了,他媽的這干一般民眾什麼屁事呀?警察就可以沒有搜索票就闖入民眾合法租賃的飯店空間?這關一般在路上拿著國旗抗議的 民眾什麼事?民進黨不管哪個人打人你都法辦了,可是拿這個當藉口就可以侵犯人權?你還真以為他媽的台北戒嚴了喔?幹!沒有用的無能低能總統!

Even if the bloody DPP just go out and hit 10,000 Communist bandits, what the fuck does this has to do with other normal citizens? The police can't just enter and search a hotel room that a person has legally rented. Stopping ordinary people on the road from flying the national flag in protest? For the DPP no matter who hit someone they are brought to justice, but how can the justice itself turn back to infringe on human rights with the DPP's excuse? Do you still really think bloody Taipei has gone back to martial law? The useless and incompetent President!

Melon Daily wrote that they never imagined the police would snap the national flag.

有這樣的警方嗎?陳雲林來台,台灣民眾舉國旗嗆聲被員警當場折毀,但五星旗卻可以公然飄揚,歡迎陳雲林車隊通過,連國民黨議員自己都看不下去,罵警方毀國旗已經公然觸法, 甚至更離譜的是,還有女警禁止民眾拿國旗,理由竟然是因為機場是「公共場所」?

這一頭員警竟然硬生生將把象徵中華民國的國旗扯斷,但反觀中山北路這裡,這群號稱是「 中華統一促進黨」的民眾,卻可以大喇喇的舉著中國五星旗,迎接陳雲林車隊通過。

Do we have this kind of police? Chen Yunlin comes to Taiwan and people raise the national flag in protest then the police break the flag on the spot. Yet the five star flag [of China] can be openly displayed. When the motorcade of Chen Yunlin was welcomed even some KMT councillors couldn't stand to see what was happening. They scolded the police for openly acting against the law. Even worse was a female police officer who prohibited people from waving the national flag. She went so far as to give the reason that the airport is a public place.

This one police officer acted harshly to the ROC flag which is the national symbol of ROC. But on Zhongshan North Road [near the Grand Hotel] a group called the China Unification Promotion Party was able to wave the Chinese five star flag to welcome Chen Yunlin's motorcade.

June Beans Charles said the orders of superiors overruled the law.




Ma Ying-jeou has been President for less than six months, and for the past eight years things I never imagined something like this could happen just happened.

The police suddenly don't even recognize the laws of the nation, they're just following the orders of their superiors. Obviously they're carrying out their duties without regard to the law. Obviously they're destroying the ordinary people's freedom. Obviously they don't know the appropriate way to take action. But in the police officers’ eyes you can see a natural expression. It's as if they are happy to destroy the people's freedoms. It's as if they see safeguarding the interests of higher authorities as more important than protecting the people's interests.

This is just the attitude of a warlord!

kiantix wrote:




The police want to catch four DPP city councillors who hung the signs at the Grand Hotel; the police want to catch the people who released balloons protesting against contaminated food; the police want to catch the people who just waved the national flag in the airport.

Aren't these actions peaceful enough? However, the police have made vows to protect the solemn and sacred laws which prohibit everyone coming together for parade or assembly, no matter whether its reasoned or passionate, peaceful or violent.

To speak even a bit more extremely, in the eyes of the police the people's existence is violence, the people's will is violence. It seems that the middle class think violence, except for state violence is always wrong, so why don't they need to have an inquiry about this violence if people's existence is violence?

English language bloggers also had something to say about the police. Eric at Taiwan Dream Foundation wrote that the arrival of Chen Yunlin looked like a return to martial law and was also a huge waste of police resources.

How does Ma Ying Jeou ( 馬英九) and his government deal with a person like this? By deploying 10,000 Taiwanese police just to protect Chen Yun Lin's eyes and ears from seeing and hearing the voice of the Taiwanese people. By the way, the entire police force in Taiwan numbers 70,000 to put the 10,000 into perspective. If Ma Ying Jeou is so worried that Chen Yun Lin might see the R.O.C. flag or hear someone say that Taiwan is independent and not a part of China, then he should just give Chen Yun Lin a blindfold and some ear plugs. Problem solved, and just think of all the money Taiwan could save.

A-gu at That's Impossible: Politics from Taiwan writes of some incidents that make it seem like martial law really has returned.

I think it's fair to say the government really is going WAY too far. The excuse that police are only taking measures designed to protect Chen's safety and avoid illegal demonstrations is simply not true. Martial law really is in the air. Arbitrary detentions and “banned songs” are back from the dead.

Lao Ren Cha responded to the way the media often labels Taiwan independence supporters as extremists.

They're not extremists! Well, some are. If you want extremists – those guys with that van on Dihua Street who advocate China joining the USA as the 51st state (well, 53rd after Canada and Iraq I suppose) fit the bill better. They're activists, and more people agree with them than foreign correspondents seem to realize – but so many independence-minded people don't dare say so, and realize that recognized, de jure independence is unrealistic now. That doesn't make those who voice their views extremists. It means they're exercising their right to free speech.

Looking at the last protest, I don't think 600,000 people (the author himself offers this figure below) can be labeled as ‘extremists’ – they're a legitimate political bloc.

tony4tw laments the attack on freedom of speech and calls on all bloggers to unite and take action.

As a Taiwanese citizen here in Taiwan, we are asking for your help. Today, we were getting oppressed to our freedom of speech. Tomorrow, will we loose our right to any forms of freedom? After China’s invasion of Taiwan, Taiwanese will all be marched to the concentration camp! Therefore, all the Taiwanese beseech all the Plurkers to help us by passing out our message. Without your help, we are all alone! With your help, we will be able to raise awareness and fight the Goliath.

As Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan continues there are sure to be many more loud voices in the blogosphere making their opinions known.

*Thanks to Portnoy for his assistance with this article.


  • knights

    I thought Bush stepped down, so there’s no more terrorist funding?! Maybe I am wrong, maybe Obama has already funded Taiwan?! hahhahahahah

    Ok, the Taiwanese that rioted, they should be treated harsher than the tibetans, although China was afraid of Bush, so they let the tibetans murders free.

    Anyway, the rioting people in Taiwan are pigs, dogs, Zhu cu bu ru! I urge China to march the military into Taiwan and take over while this is a good chance. Taiwan started the fight, give them some!


  • knights

    Listen Chen Shui Fang and supporters!

    When you died, your soul will be trapped in hell FOREVER because you sucked Taiwans’ resources, and it dried up!

  • ifan


    I already suggested you to care your countrymen more than another country’s “ex-president.”

    About the law-making and law enforcement, we will take care of it ourselves. You do not need to worry about it.

    By the way, is Sanlu sued by the Chinese who lost their babies due to the melamine-contaminated milk powder? How is law enforcement in China? Contaminated food is more bloody than its appearance.

  • Nadia

    As a Taiwanese, I don’t think “Get Real” understands the right to express opinion. But I strongly agree “Get Real”’s suggestion that Chinese citizen should stay away from Taiwan.
    I remember I was crying when I saw the picture about Pope’s funeral. I was sad about the great man passed away but the reason I cried was our national flag in the picture. I was thinking: “This might be the only foreign land allowing us to have our own flag”. It’s not difficult to find the video clips online to see how Chinese grabbed away our national flag violently from our athletes, or any other international activities participants. Now we need to fight to have our national flag at our land!
    I am not promoting this “enemy” relation with Chinese people. I don’t deny Chinese culture in Taiwan. The question is how you grow up plays the big influence on how you think. I live in USA now and I have a friend from China. She thought that everyone was picking on Chinese government during Olympic game. I think the “education” in China just “super”! I kind of expected that Chinese people would appreciate the freedom after they move to USA and they would see what is happening in China better and realize they need to improve how the government works. I have another theory now. When Chinese people are able to move to another country, they probably live pretty well in their own country and they don’t have much complaint and they don’t want to see the problem either. Give me good material life and I can shut up. How about people live in the inland area? Chinese government has money to depress Taiwan’s diplomatic position and they needed the donation for the earthquake disaster. Don’t get the wrong idea that I oppose the help for the disaster. But can’t you see why we shouldn’t “pick on” Chinese government?
    I am so disappointed at President Ma (if I can’t pick on Chinese government, at least I have the right to pick on our own government). The only most efficient thing he did is to drag down Taiwan. I am so proud of those people who joined the protest and expressed their opinion peacefully!

  • John

    There must be some reasons why Taiwanese people resent Chinese people so much. Taiwanese people treat foreigners from other places in the world just fine. It must have something to do with the fact that PRC government keep claiming Taiwan their territory and prohibit Taiwan’s national flag to appear on international events. (And we see how rude Chinese people get when Taiwan’s national flags happened to show up.) When I saw the incidents on TV (the insults, the throwing), I thought it was the Chinese people seeing Taiwan’s national flag again, then I realize it was the other way around.

  • Is the Republic of China flag the proper flag to be flying in Taiwan?

    According to the legal record, Taiwan was sovereign Japanese territory until the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on April 28, 1952. However, in this treaty, the sovereignty of Taiwan was not awarded to “China.”

    Wouldn’t it then be reasonable to say that the ROC flag should come down? So, why is the ROC flag still flying over Taiwan today? Perhaps the answer is that the ROC government in exile is firmly entrenched in Taiwan. See http://www.taiwankey.net/dc/rocexile-ex.htm

  • knights

    Carol, do you want to see China and USA and Taiwan go to war, do you want world war III?

    Shame on you, what happens to world peace? People like you will cause WWIII, do we want it?! NO! We need dialogue, not UNcivilized rioting, looting, and murdering. That’s UNdemocratic, and it’s given democratic a BAD name!

    Hey i-fang!
    I thought your have your own forum, why are you trolling other peoples’ forums?!
    Of course I care about my countrymen, that’s why I voted democratic for USA!


  • ifan


    Why did you go to so many “forums” to show your resentment toward Taiwan’s ex-president? Mr. Chen is not the president now, and he was neither Chinese or American’s president.

    It’s so funny that you think I have no right to join the conversation. I am sorry that you disagree with my opinions I wrote here, but I have every right to join the conversation.

    By the way, do not threat Carol under the name of peace like your Chinese government! People like you who threat others are people who want to go to war. Shame on you!

  • Jo

    Are you living in Tainwan? Are you Tiawanese? Dont be so shallow to make the comments that you dont know what the siutations in Taiwan.
    By the way, to the people like as Knight, get real who may come from China,a communistic country, criticized the decocracy in Taiwan and told Taiwansese what is the democracy look like is such as Ridilicious and hilarious. How do you know what the democracy is? Have China democratized? Tke good care of your country, dont show how foolish you are.

  • […] visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chair Chen Yunlin. To prevent the return of a police state, the students demanded the government to apologize and amend the law in their open […]

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