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“Free Tibet” billboard in Taipei

June 22, 2009

Emailed in by Li Jiehmei

June 21, 2009



It has caught many people’s attention when a billboard with huge letters that read “Free Tibet” appeared on an overpass in a busy commercial and shopping district in Taipei, Taiwan on June 1 this year—which marks the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising against Chinese invasion. Also on the billboard are Taiwanese heavy metal band Chthonic’s lead vocalist Freddy and bassist Doris. 


Long been active supporters of freedom and human rights, Freddy and Doris, who appear near-naked in the picture with a Tibetan flag behind them, spray painted the words “Free Tibet” across their bodies to voice their firm support for the Tibetan cause. 


On the morning of June 6, volunteers from Guts United Taiwan—which organized this year’s Free Tibet Concert in Taipei—and members of Chthonic gathered at the busy shopping district to hand out flyers advertising the concert. 


When Freddy visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, he received blessings from the Dalai Lama for the Free Tibet Concert in Taipei. When Freddy invited the Dalai Lama to attend the concert in Taipei, the Dalai Lama said he would love to come to Taiwan anytime. Organizers of the Free Tibet Concert in Taipei—which will be held on July 11—were very excited as they learned that the Dalai Lama attended a concert of the Dutch band Aqua de Annique, and thus sent another invitation to the Dalai Lama, hoping that he will visit Taiwan to give inspirations to young people in Taiwan about the Free Tibet movement and about human rights. 


Guts United Taiwan is probably the first organization in Taiwan to promote a public issue on a billboard in a shopping district where young people would hang out, said Freddy, who is also the chairperson of Guts United Taiwan. By doing so, Freddy pointed out that he hopes to raise awareness among the young people in Taiwan about history of Tibet and human rights.


Besides Chthonic, ten other Taiwanese bands and individual artists will take part in the Free Tibet Concert in July. Following the first Free Tibet Concert in Taipei in 2003 with internationally renowned artists such as the Beastie Boys, this year’s concert will be the biggest Free Tibet Concert with the participation of most local bands and artists. The outdoor concert is scheduled to begin at 2pm on July 11, and is expected to attract more than 20,000 people in audience. 


Meanwhile, Freddy also condemned President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan—who took office in May last year—for his recent remarks about human rights.


Instead of condemning China for human rights abuses like political leaders in many other countries did, Ma lauded China for its “recent progress” in human rights on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4. In addition, Ma has also repeatedly said that the timing is “inappropriate” for the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan at the moment, and that he would “not allow” Tibet to become independent. Freddy said that he was shocked when he heard those words coming from the president of Taiwan. He said that such a remarks are not only anti-democracy, but also shows that Ma is a person without principles, without ideology, has a set of confused values, and is lagging behind recent trends of supporting human rights and freedom in the international community.

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