’100 PERCENT FREEDOM’:The Kaohsiung mayor said the democracy advocate’s suicide had shocked the nation and lent support to its democratic awakening
Date: Mar 29, 2015
By: Chen Wei-han / Staff writer
Three days of activities to commemorate late democracy advocate Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) are set to begin on Sunday next week in Kaohsiung, with the city designating April 7 as Freedom of Expression Day in honor of Deng.
Aged 43, Deng killed himself by self-immolation on April 7, 1989, in defense of “100 percent freedom of expression.”
At a press conference yesterday in which Deng’s widow, Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), was present, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) delivered an emotional speech, saying she had tried to stop Deng from committing suicide just prior to his death.
The freedom of speech that Taiwanese enjoy is the legacy of pioneering democracy fighters, Chen said.
The Kaohsiung Incident — an anti-government demonstration organized by Formosa Magazine on Dec. 10, 1979, that resulted in the mass arrest and imprisonment of opposition leaders by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — was a milestone of Taiwanese democracy, according to Chen, who was herself imprisoned for six-and-a-half years for her involvement in the incident.