President joins independence activist’s 100th birthday celebration

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President Tsai Ing-wen takes part in a carnival-like celebration outside the Presidential Office for the 100th birthday of Taiwan independence movement pioneer Su Beng on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday praised Taiwan independence movement pioneer Su Beng (史明) for his persistence as she took part in a carnival-like celebration outside the Presidential Office for the activist’s 100th birthday.

“Thank you for serving as an example to prove to all Taiwanese what kind of dignity we can achieve if we insist on fighting for our ideals,” Tsai noted as she gave a birthday card to Su at the celebration attended by hundreds of people.

She also hugged the activist, a long-time supporter of Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Su Beng thanked President Tsai for her kind words and noted that for the first time in 400 years, a woman was serving as president of Taiwan.

He called on Tsai to listen to the voices of Taiwan’s people as dramatic changes occur around the world.

“I hope President Tsai can come up with policies to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world as well as satisfy the needs of the Taiwanese people,” he said.

“We should also unite and back her so that Taiwan can have a bright future,” he said.

Su Beng, the pseudonym of political activist Shih Chao-hui (施朝暉), is widely regarded as the pioneer of the Taiwan independence movement.

He was born on Nov. 9, 1918, but will turn 100 in four days based on how age is calculated in Taiwan.

Su Beng fled the country in 1952 after the “Taiwan Independence Armed Corps,” which he founded, was discovered to be plotting the assassination of former President Chiang Kai-shek, only to be allowed to return to Taiwan four decades later in 1993.

Throughout his life, Su Beng has published multiple works and publicly spoken out about his ideas for Taiwan independence and the history of Taiwan so that people realize, through an understanding of history, the importance of Taiwan’s democracy and autonomy.

The celebration was staged at Ketagalan Boulevard and joined by around 70 local and international non-governmental organizations to mark the special occasion and raise awareness of the Taiwan independence movement, according to the Su Beng Education Foundation (史明教育基金會), the chief organizer of the event.

By Joseph Yeh