- Posted April 4, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protesters occupy Taiwan legislature
Democracy at Risk: Taiwan Government Censors on Crowdfunding Site
On March 29 and 30, International New York Times Asia published a full-page advertisement sponsored by FlyingV, Taiwan's biggest crowdfunding platform. The ad “Democracy at 4am” aims at breaking the barrier built by mass media in Taiwan, most of which blocks the voice of the ongoing “Sunflower Movement”.
Breaking out on late night March 18 by successfully occupied the Legislative Yuan (parliament) in Taipei, the Sunflower Movement is led by student and civic groups, who protest against the ruling party forcing to pass the controversial Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) with China. Sit-in demonstrations inside and around the Legislative Yuan has lasted for 18 days so far. Disappointed at the government's aloof responses, some activist then occupied the Executive Yuan (the cabinet office building) on the evening of March 24 and thousands of protesters gathered in the following couple of hours. By the dawn of March 25, the authorities ordered the police to evict unarmed protesters by metal batons, tear gas and even water cannons, causing hundreds of them injured.
Most clips on the violent eviction sent onto Youtube were immediately reported and deleted, and most news media in Taiwan went silent by not covering the incident comprehensively. Strong dissatisfaction brewed when people watch and read about the details of the violent eviction via social networking sites and the Internet. Later in the morning, a proposal on FlyingV was carried out, asking for sponsorship to be able to publish a descriptive ad on two of the most read local newspaper so that the public had the chance to glimpse what was really happening during the violent eviction. Within 30 minutes the goal was reached, and it turned out even better that under 3621 citizens' sponsorship, enough money was raised in less than three hours to buy the ad on the New York Times. The ad was published in International New York Times Asia on March 29 and 30, showing the world how Taiwanese struggle to protect their democracy.
The story does not end here, though.
While Taiwanese people are excited to see their true voice shown to the world, some of them start to wonder why there are not more proposals about the Sunflower Movement appearing on FlyingV. It has been proven that, in addition to being fined 1,700 USD due to “violating the contract” between the platform and the supervising authorities, FlyingV is asked to NOT carry out any proposals related to the Sunflower Movement. All its future proposals will be censored by the government authorities before published, or it will face a 340,000 USD fine and/or more.
This is not one single incident. More are believed to be coming. The world should hear about the demolition on democracy and condemn Taiwan's ruling government for doing so.