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September 24, 2017

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'Jasmine revolution' unlikely in Taiwan: ex-DPP chairman

TAIPEI--Taiwanese will not have gatherings similar to the "jasmine revolution" uprisings in the Middle East in 2011 because of their high degree of democratic maturity, a former chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Saturday.

Shih Ming-te said at a press briefing that it is ridiculous to consider Taiwan in a similar vein to countries under dictatorship in the Arab world such as Yemen and Egypt, noting that the last time Taiwanese protesters took to the streets to express their demands, their protest was peaceful.

Asked about the DPP's approval of former President Chen Shui-bian's application to have his party membership restored, Shih said it is part of the opposition party's strategy for winning back power.

He said that incumbent DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and former Chairman Frank Hsieh believe that Chen's return is key to success in next year's election for the new DPP chairman, who will be likely to win the party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

Shih's remarks also alluded to a recent protest mobilized via the Internet by an activist group, Citizen 1985, for improvements to human rights in the military.

The group led a mass protest on Aug. 3 near the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei, which drew more than 100,000 demonstrators calling for reforms and transparency in the wake of the death of Army conscript Hung Chung-chiu in early July.

Hung was allegedly forced to perform strenuous exercises in sweltering heat as a penalty for taking a camera-equipped cellphone onto his base in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan.

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