In celebration of Freedom of Speech Day on April 7, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall opened a permanent exhibition, "Taiwan's long walk to freedom of speech (自由的靈魂vs.獨裁者：臺灣言論自由之路)," which aims to educate visitors about Taiwan's social movements and key events in support of freedom of speech.
Those present at the opening ceremony included Control Yuan President and National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊), Presidential Office Senior Advisor Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Minister of Culture Lee Yung te, Transitional Justice Commission Commissioner Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈), Curator Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), other officials, as well as political victims and their families.
According to MOC, Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, during which time freedom of speech, association and publication were heavily suppressed. Even after the martial law was lifted, freedom of speech continued to be stifled until Article 100 of the Criminal Code, which provided for the imprisonment of people deemed by the authorities to be guilty of anti-state activities, was amended in 1992.
MOC added that the exhibition is a commemorative event for "Freedom of Speech Day," which has been observed by Taiwan's government on April 7 since 2016 to remember activist Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), who was the publisher of the political magazine Freedom Era Weekly (自由時代), and self-immolated at his office on April 7, 1989 in protest against the authorities attempting to arrest him on charges of sedition.
To illustrate Cheng's dedication to promoting freedom of speech, the exhibition also showcases a life-size replica of his office after the activist set himself on fire. It also introduces significant figures who had been involved in the struggle for freedom of speech, such as Yang Kui (楊逵), Lei Chen (雷震), Fu Cheng (傅正), and others.
Minister Lee stated that through this exhibition, he hopes the public can realize the freedom of speech that we have today was derived from numerous predecessors who sacrificed their personal freedoms and even lives to fight for free speech and democracy under the authoritarian government.
For more information, please visit CKS Memorial Hall's official website.
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