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Mayor Declares April 7 Freedom of Speech Day

During his address at the opening event for a human rights exhibition, Mayor Ko Wen-je declared April 7 as Taipei’s “Freedom of Speech” Day.
The mayor noted that the “Road to Freedom – Freedom Lane International Human Rights Outdoor Exhibition” seeks to express two concepts. One of the concepts is education, hoping that the showcase can serve as historical material teaching the public about our predecessors and their quest for freedom and democracy.
The second meaning of the exhibition is to remember a past – the location where Cheng Nan-jung committed self-immolation. He recalled visiting the floor of the building in person, noting how the smell of burning remains notable even after two decades. This reminds us that democracy is not given as a gift, but something that has been won through the sacrifice of many people.
According to the mayor, he would tell his students at National Taiwan University during his days as a professor stories from his elementary school years. For example, kids believed that the president would always be Chiang, not believing it possible to have presidents with other surnames. While students from today’s generation may find the concept to be unbelievable, he explained that democracy gradually incorporates the unthinkable into a part of our daily routine. He stressed that such development does not occur naturally and is only possible through the sacrifice of many predecessors.
Ko noted that the main reason for declaring April 7 Freedom of Speech Day is to serve both educational and historical purposes. From the perspective of education, he hopes that everyone will inspect the past, treasure the present, and look into the future. From the historical perspective, he hopes that the public can remember how today’s democracy and freedom is made possible through the sacrifice of our forefathers.