This month marks the 40th anniversary of one of Taiwan's earliest and largest pro-democracy protests � the Chungli Incident -- which took place in what is now known as the Chungli District of Taoyuan City.
The incident occurred on November 19, 1977, as local residents went to the polls to elect the county magistrate of what was then called Taoyuan County. It was the largest election since Taiwan's then-authoritarian government began implementing local elections. But after word got out about a possible election fraud on the part of the ruling Kuomintang, some 10,000 people took to the streets, turning over military vehicles and burning down the local police station.
One of the top figures of the incident was Hsu Hsin-liang, an opposition figure who would eventually be elected Taoyuan County Magistrate and later Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson. His election marked the first transfer of party rule in Taoyuan and is considered a watershed moment in the nation's democracy movement.
Hsu spoke on Sunday in Chungli at the opening of a forum and exhibition marking the incident. The event was attended by the current Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan and other top officials.
Hsu said that 40 years after the incident, Taiwan is one of the most free and democratic countries and that his push for universal human values had become a life-long pursuit. He said that while it is a democratic nation, there is still more work to be done.