DPP celebrates 35 years with book on party founding
Those present at the book launch recalled their fears at the founding meeting, while celebrating photographer Chiu Wan-hsing’s tribute to the party.
By Jason Pan / Journalist
Leading members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gathered in Taipei yesterday to launch a book about the party’s beginnings.
The launch of photographer Chiu Wan-hsing (邱萬興) Taiwan’s Defiant Years: The Rise of the DPP 1986-1987 (台灣 關鍵 年代: 民進黨 的 誕生 1986-1987) was part of a series of activities to mark the 35th anniversary of the party’s founding on September 28, 1986, at the Grand Hotel Taipei.
“We must never forget the original spirit of the DPP and the founding principles of the party. The Taiwanese have high expectations of the DPP, and we must remember this responsibility, ”said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is the President of the DPP, in her opening speech.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Chiu has been associated with the DPP for years, donating numerous photographs, early DPP publications and election brochures to the party for the establishment of a museum celebrating the history of the DPP.
Several founding DPP members attended the event, including Legislative Assembly Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), former Taipei County Commissioner You Ching (尤清) and former DPP Chairman Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文).
Those present at the DPP’s founding event recalled the tense atmosphere as many feared then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), who was also chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) at the period, does not order the security forces to crack down on the newly founded party.
There were rumors that opposition leaders would be arrested, they said.
You Ching said he telephoned foreign news outlets upon returning from the event.
It was urgent to announce the founding of the party to the world, he said, adding that it was crucial that the foreign media report the event.
At the start of the party, DPP members pressured foreign governments to support Taiwan’s democratic push and recognize the atrocities committed by the KMT during the martial law era, he said.
Events led Katharine Graham, then editor of the Washington Post, to Taiwan to interview Chiang on October 6, 1986.
Chiang told Graham that the government would lift martial law and introduce reforms and policies to liberalize Taiwan, You Ching said.
In the interview, Chiang also said that any newly formed party should adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of China and help counter Communist China’s agenda, You Ching said.
The interview assured DPP members that “Chiang has come to accept the existence of the DPP,” he said.
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