Welcome to Jailbnb?!-Freedom of Speech Day

Welcome to Jailbnb?!-Freedom of Speech Day

Date:2020/04/07~2020/12/13
Venue: Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park

In honor of Freedom of Speech Day, the Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park will hold an exhibition on ordinary people who were convicted for exercising their rights and freedom of expression during the White Terror era. With the aim of illustrating how fundamental human rights were under sustained attack through the framework of enforcing martial law, the exhibition is free and open to the public from April 17 through Dec. 13.

Cheekily titled “Welcome to Jailbnb!", the New Taipei City exhibition highlights how oppression permeated everyday life under martial law from 1949 to 1987. During that time, it was not unusual for civilians who expressed their dissatisfaction with the government or criticized the head of state to be tried in military courts under charges of “instigating civil unrest" and “spying for the Communists." They were forced to be “re-educated" or sentenced to severe punishment such as forced labor or death.

Through comic strips, memes, and sensory installations that detect the physical movement of visitors, the exhibition closely examines how ordinary people then were subject to censorship. Other items curated for display — including verdict sheets and dossiers that contain such written sentences as “rebellious," “convicted to seven years in prison," and “confer three years of reformatory education" — bear witness to Taiwan’s dark past.

“Welcome to Jailbnb!" features tailored artworks by Chen Yun-ju (陳韻如) and Tsai Kun-lin (蔡坤霖). By combining interactive sensory technology and satirical memes, Chen offers visitors a chance to ponder the standard for determining when speech is unprotected. Tsai, on the other hand, transformed an exhibition space into a public toilet. Through a variety of sounds and once-banned songs coming from the sewage pipes, Tsai’s work aims to remind people of the period when walls had ears.

Describing the martial law period as an era with no freedom of expression, National Human Rights Museum Director Chen Chun-hung (陳俊宏) said ordinary people were easily criminalized for anything they did or said on a daily basis, which fueled a chilling effect on society.

As the White Terror period is close to unimaginable for contemporary teens who never lived under martial law and are unaware of a world without internet, this exhibition seeks to encourage reflection on the value and scope of freedom of expression. For example, the curators have utilized the comic strip format to spotlight how speeches on political or ideological topics were subject to draconian scrutiny.

Echoing Chen, Cheng Ching-hua (鄭清華), executive board member of the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation (鄭南榕基金會), said ordinary people who spoke against or wrote about the injustices were put behind bars and lost their youths or even lives. The foundation member also paid tribute to pro-democracy pioneer Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕, also credited as Nylon Cheng), who set himself on fire in defense of personal expression on April 7, 1989. Twenty-seven years later, April 7 was officially designated as Freedom of Speech Day in 2016 to commemorate his death by immolation.

Three freedom-of-speech workshops for vocational institutions or high school students will also accompany the exhibition later this year. The museum is partnering with the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation as well to launch a human rights-themed tour to promote public awareness on the basic rights that all beings are entitled to.

Originally scheduled for April 7 to mark Freedom of Speech Day in Taiwan, the opening of the event has been postponed to May 5 in compliance with the preventive measures issued by the New Taipei City government to curb the spread of COVID-19.


銬!我被抓了?!言論自由日特展

日期:2020/04/07-2020/12/13
地點:國家人權博物館白色恐怖景美紀念園區 美工工廠

「言論自由」是基本人權的一環,但是在台灣,人們所享有的言論自由權利,其實並非自始已然。台灣在1950年至1987年間因國共內戰而實施戒嚴,在長達38年的戒嚴期間,許多人因言談或書信中不滿政府或批評元首,就動輒被視為「叛亂」、當成「匪諜」,或被交付感化,或遭判處重刑,甚至喪失寶貴生命。

這類因言論獲罪的人們分佈在各行各業,以軍公教人員最多,但更多是基層民眾,包括教師、學生、店員、遊民,甚至受刑人。在戒嚴時期家裡長輩經常訓誡孩子不要亂說話、不可以亂塗鴉,否則就會被警察抓走。人們也因此謹小慎微,唯恐一時語言或書寫的無心疏忽而被當成「叛亂犯」,這種寒蟬效應,是台灣五、六年級生記憶的一部份,正是戒嚴時期庶民生活的日常。由於這類案件當事人都非公眾人物,檔案也都分散在不同卷宗,儘管解嚴後學者陸續解讀檔案,但言論獲罪這個領域的研究仍然非常有限。

本展主要素材取自國家人權博物館的委託研究,由陳百齡、楊秀菁和黃順星等傳播和歷史學者,組成跨領域研究團隊,針對言論獲罪案件運用數位工具進行資料探勘,再從中整理上出千則「言論獲罪」個案調查分析。本展大多數素材都是首次對外公開的檔案史料,對瞭解台灣言論自由發展的歷史腳步,應該有所助益。

Welcome to Jailbnb?!-2020Freedom of Speech Day

「銬!我被抓了?!」2020言論自由日特展

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