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May 23, 2017

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KMT lawmaker presses public insult charges against activists

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang lawmaker Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) yesterday pressed charges against a group of activists who gathered at his constituency office to give him a fake turtle shell with his name carved on it.

"A turtle hiding in its shell" (縮頭烏龜) is an idiom in mandarin Chinese used to describe a person as a coward.

On April 23, roughly 200 students and faculty of several universities arrived at the constituency office with a fake turtle shell. The activists apparently claimed that they had "passed by" (路過) Lu's constituency office to avoid violating regulations for not having applied for a parade permit.

Lu said that he was at the Legislature that day hosting a meeting and that he was therefore not able to personally receive the activists. Referring to his absence, the activists reportedly called him a "turtle hiding in its shell."

Lu said that the activists had violated the Criminal Code by offering public insult, and that evidence, including video and audio recordings, has been collected.

The lawmaker said that protests such as these are arranged under the false pretense of peace, rationality and democracy, and that such protests are intended as an attack against people who hold different opinions.

Lu said that he respects people's right to freedom of speech, but that insults are not protected by that constitutional right.

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