May 21-27, 2012
PCT’s sit-in protest movement against price hikes begins on May 21 across Taiwan
Reported by Chen YI-hsuan, Lin Yi-ying
Written by Lydia Ma
PCT’s month-long sit-in protest movement against price hikes began simultaneously in 12 cities across Taiwan on May 21, 2012, one day after President Ma began his second term as President of Taiwan. PCT pastors and members in Taipei, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Pingtung, Hualien, and Ilan came out to support this activitiy.
During an public press conference held a few day earlier on Ketagalan Boulevard, PCT leaders including General Secretary Andrew Chang, Church and Society Committee Secretary Huang Che-yen, General Assembly Moderator Pusin Tali, and Associate General Secretary Lyim Hong-tiong urged the Ma administration to freeze the price of electricity and fuel, ban imports of beef containing ractopamine, and amend the Referendum Act.
Commenting on this movement, Lyim pointed out that churches could not ignore people’s suffering and continue gathering inside church buildings and greeting one another with “Peace!” when the people did not have peace. For this reason, the church has decided to follow the example of the Israelites by crying out to God. When the Israelites were oppressed as slaves in Egypt, they cried out to God for deliverance. In the same manner, the PCT is now crying out: “Lord, save us! Taiwanese are suffering deeply!”
On Monday, May 21, several pastors wearing their clergy attire gathered at the front of the kindergarten run by East Gate Barclay Memorial Church in Tainan, located just across from the church on Dongmen Road, a busy road in Tainan. By 9:00 a.m., pastors and members were ready and seated under various tents singing hymns and praying for Taiwan. Outside these tents hung a big banner with PCT’s plea, “Lord, save us! Taiwanese are suffering deeply!” Other banners listing the 3 demands made by the PCT to President Ma were also posted. The sight of these banners and the sound of hymns drew the attention of many motorists and passersby, who slowed down to observe the sit-in protest.
“Ma Ying-jeou should repent! He is not an emperor, he is a servant of the people!” said Tainan Presbytery’s Church and Society Committee Secretary Sung Hsin-hsi. He led the people in prayer for President Ma and asked that God would give Ma wisdom and insight so that he would see his own weaknesses and empathize with the people’s suffering.
Commenting on this sit-in protest, Tainan Presbytery’s Moderator Wang Tsan-sheng remarked that PCT’s goal is to model Jesus because God drew near to people’s suffering through the incarnation. Furthermore, the church is called to lead suffering people “out of Egypt” and oppression when the government is neither just nor righteous.
Wang then referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall and said that the prayers and actions of many Christians played a crucial role in this historic event. In the same manner, the PCT must rely on God’s strength to accomplish everything that seems impossible.
About a dozen seminarians from Tainan Theological College and Seminary also took part in this event. Their advisor Rev. Lin Wen-che told Taiwan Church News that clergy members must get out of their comfort zones or church buildings and support the people in advancing social justice. One student also commented that this sit-in protest was an opportunity to speak out for what is righteous and thus constituted a normal and reasonable activity.
The sit-in protest in Tainan will take place every day from now until June 20, from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Similar sit-in protests are being held in various parts of Taiwan during the same period. For example, the sit-in in Pingtung City was attended by 40 members from Pingtung, Paiwan, and Rukai presbyteries.
For updates on this anti-price hike movement, visit PCT’s website at http://english.pct.org.tw/