Saturday, March 27, 2004

Chen's press conference, the 327 demonstration, and 口號

While I was out with some friends this evening, it seems Chen Shui-bian had a press conference in response to a big demonstration by the pan-blues today. CNN's article about the press conference and protest summarizes some of what Chen said but doesn't describe Chen's anger about accusations that he faked the assassination attempt. The article also doesn't mention that the pan-blue protesters numbered about 500,000 (according to the estimates I've seen) and the speakers included former DPP members like Sisy Chen (陳文茜) and Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), as well as 80s rock star Luo Da-you (羅大佑). From what I saw on TV, the demonstration was mostly peaceful, which I was happy to see considering the potential for violence.

I'd like to collect some of the slogans (口號) that have been used during the protest--both English and Chinese ones. I was especially curious about the English sign that was shown behind the speakers at today's demonstration: "Democracy is Dead." The protesters today also carried placards symbolizing the death of democracy. (This image is from an article in the People's Daily of the PRC!) I'm wondering if this slogan has its roots in the antiwar protests in the U.S. (see this image as an example) or if it has been circulating in Taiwan for longer than that. It was evidently also used by protesters against the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Kungliao back in 2001. I'm interested in the "circulation" of this slogan in international contexts--how it has been used, both seriously and ironically, in various statements, protests, etc. I did a Google search and find it has been used a lot in reference to the US war on Iraq; an earlier use comes from a 1995 news release by a pro-gun group regarding gun legislation in Canada. If you find any earlier references, let me know...

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