Mainland Chinese Amazed by ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ An estimated 250,000 people rallied in front of the Presidential Office Building on Aug. 4, demanding the truth about Army Corporal Hung Chung-chiu, who was allegedly tortured to death. The incident has aroused quite a stir among netizens in China.
Hung was sent to military detention at a Yangmei base on June 28 for carrying a camera phone on base. A fellow conscript alleged that Hung was wrongfully detained and was the victim of a personal vendetta; Hung had previously been at odds with his superiors.
He was ordered to perform strenuous exercise drills in hot conditions as part of his punishment, and was hospitalized on July 3 after suffering heatstroke and falling into a coma. Hung died of organ failure on July 4, two days before he was to be discharged from the military.
According to Taiwan media, the protesters wore white T-shirts, held signs with a drawing of a bleeding eye, and sung the Les Misérables theme song Do You Hear the People Sing? in Taiwanese, demanding the truth about the death of the Army Corporal.
On the same day, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou attended Hung’s funeral. Ma promised to Hung’s family that he would definitely take the responsibility for the incident. Ma added that Hung’s death would not be in vain, and assured them that nothing like this would ever happen again.
Shortly after that, the event’s theme song Do You Hear the People Sing? started circulating frantically among netizens in China.
The voluntary demonstration by Taiwanese people was in order to safeguard freedom, democracy, and the rule of law—this inspired Chinese netizens, many expressing their sincere feelings. They noted that the campaign reminded them of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre 24 years ago. They wrote:
“People in China should also sing such a solemn and powerful melody. It was really very touching!”
“It was truly the voice of freedom and democracy! This is indeed the most impressive song in this tragic world!”
“I feel like crying, as if I were living in the same miserable situation.”
“This is a lesson, and it is a good example to us. Great!”
“It’s really so touching. I believe one day this song will be sung around us.”
Chinese Internet users have attentively observed Taiwan’s campaign for truth this time. They posted their own voices:
“The courageous Taiwanese citizens are ahead of us. We should fight for freedom and democracy ourselves, as opposed to aimlessly waiting for it!”
“After seeing the photos, I felt like crying. We should strive for our own rights. Life should be respected! If we don’t support what our compatriots did yesterday, it will be our turn to fall down tomorrow!”
“Democracy and rights will never come by naturally. We need to fight for them ourselves. With such citizens, how can the government bully them?”
Chinese netizens praised the fact that after the rally was over, people voluntarily cleaned up all the rubbish on the ground, leaving the street even cleaner than before:
“It’s great to see civilian rallies proceed so perfectly. In the meantime, we sincerely hope that one day, all Chinese people are able to enjoy the same freedom, democracy, rule of law, and equality. The dream is not so far away from us because these values have been realized in Taiwan.
“They are not only the privileges of Westerners. Taiwan’s experience shall serve as a lesson for the future development of China.”
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