May 7-13, 2012
Christian councilors stage sit-in demonstration against the Ma administration
Reported by Sam Lee, Lin Yi-ying
Written by Lydia Ma
Greater Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Hsin-yu and Greater Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu, along with 3 other young councilors and lawyers staged a 24-hour sit-in demonstration against the Ma administration on April 30, 2012. The sit-in was held on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei and it was a protest against this administration’s autocracy and its disregard for public opinion. The PCT supported this event and several of its pastors dropped by to pray with these councilors and preside over worship services.
Chen Hsin-yu is a member of the Christian fellowship formed by a few city councilors in Kaohsiung and also one of the sponsors of this event. She said that she often met up with Wang Ting-yu and other councilors to exchange ideas. When the Ma administration began to drastically increase petroleum-based fuel and electricity prices, relaxing a ban on imports of US beef containing residues of the animal feed additive ractopamine, and promoting “One country, two areas”, their conversations inspired them to hold a sit-in
Wang and Chen are both PCT members while the other 3 councilors participating in this sit-in are not Christians. However, one of the things that they all have in common is that they are all fairly young and energetic councilors. Their sit-in was applauded by many people and supported by the PCT.
“I did a lot of spiritual heart-searching and struggled before spearheading this sit-in,” explained Chen. She said that though she opposed President Ma’s autocratic demeanor, she needed to reconcile these feelings with the passage found in Romans 13:1, wherein it states: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”
After sharing her thoughts with Wang, who was also a Christian, they both began to pray fervently and search the Scriptures for guidance. What they discovered was that God also loves justice and mercy and when governing authorities no longer act justly or protect the people they are supposed to govern, God also sends prophets to correct them, tell them the truth with love, and hold them accountable.
On May 1, PCT General Assembly Moderator Pusin Tali, Vice Moderator Hsu Jung-fong, General Secretary Andrew Chang, Associate General Secretary Lyim Hong-tiong, Church and Society Secretary Huang Che-yen, along with leaders from various presbyteries visited the place where the sit-in was held to convey their support on behalf of the PCT and some of them also led prayer meetings there.
On the morning of May 6, Huang Che-yen presided over a worship service held at the site. Using Micah 2:8-10 as the reference verse for his sermon, he said bluntly that the Ma administration’s decision to increase the price of electricity and fuel is akin to stealing or stripping off people’s clothes, and likened it to a form of oppression. He then encouraged those who were taking part in this demonstration to persevere on behalf of the people so that God’s justice could be restored and Taiwanese people could be blessed.
Leaders representing Taiwan Justice Action Church, PCT Church and Society Committee, Beimen Presbyterian Church, and PCT Indigenous Ministry Committee attended this sit-in at various intervals to lend their support and convey PCT’s support of the event.