Wild Lily Student Movement

Background

In 1986, the Tang-Wei movement has officially created the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In 1988, President Chiang Jing-Kuo passed away and his then-vice president, Lee Teng-Hui took the presidential position. 1990 was the year for a new president to be elected. However, at this point, the President and Vice President of the Republic of China (ROC) were selected from the National Assembly (國民大會). The National Assembly had a nickname of Ten Thousand Year Assembly (萬年國會) because after the ROC retreated to Taiwan, there were no new local representatives that joined.

In 1989, Tiananmen Square Incident, which resulted in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, was a protest of the people in China for a democratic reform.

Protest

March 16, 1990

Nine students from National Taiwan University (NTU) went to Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall and had a sit-in protest. Hearing this, many other students and non-government organization came to join them.

March 17, 1990

By the evening, there were 200 plus students on the sit-in protest. Those around supporting them was over 2000 people.

NTU liberals skipped class and designated the week to be a “civic education week” and went to CKS Memorial Hall to learn by doing. Many other schools joined them.

Wild Lily - Schools

March 18, 1990

On this day, the organizing committee made their four demands:

  1. Abolish the National Assembly (國民大會) and re-establish a new National Assembly infastructure
  2. Nullify the Temporary Provisions Against the Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) and re-establish constitutional order
  3. Hold a National Affairs Conference (國是會議)
  4. Establish a political reform time table

Wild_LilyMarch 19, 1990

The Formosan Lily (Lilium formosanum) was selected as the symbol of the movement for the following reasons:

Autonomy

As a Taiwan specific specie of lily, the Formosan Lily reflects that the movement was homegrown and thus autonomous from foreign ideals.

Grassroot

Found from the mountains all the way to the coast, the Formosan Lily reflects the grassroots aspect of the movement.

Vitality

Formosan Lilies are able to bloom even in the worst of conditions.

Spring Bloom

The time of the movement was in spring, just as the Formosan Lilies bloom. It also represented the youth of the students (Spring is often times used to describe youth as the word youth in Mandarin is 青春. The second word is spring.)

Purity

Being pure white, the Formosan Lily represented the student’s innocence and purity.

Honor

In the Lukai Tribe, an indigenous tribe of Taiwan, the Formosan Lily was a symbol of honor.

March 20, 1990

There are now more than 5,000 protestors. The presidential selection was to be made on March 21. At this point tensions are high and the government, department of education and principals from all schools demanded that students return to attend classes.

Wild Lily Crowd 2.jpg

March 21, 1990

Newly selected President Lee Teng-Hui invites 53 students to the Presidential Office. Lee agreed to accomplish the following before his inauguration:

  1. Abolished the National Assembly
  2. Nullified the Temporary Provisions Against the Communist Rebellion
  3. Hold a National Affairs Conference
  4. Establish a time table for political reform

Upon reviewing the meeting footage, the organizing committee agreed to end the student movement on March 22.

March 22, 1990

This day marks the end of the 6 day student movement that will henceforth be known as the Wild Lily Student Movement.

 

 

Legacy:

A National Affairs Conference was held in 1990.

The National Assembly was disbanded in 1991.

The Temporary Provisions Against the Communist Rebellion was nullified in 1991.

 

All this allowed for a free and democratic election where each Taiwanese was able to cast their own ballot. In 1996, the election was held and President Lee was re-elected for his final term in office.

 

References:

【歷史上的今天】319野百合學運(1990)

你怎麼不憤怒!野百合學運—2016台灣國際紀錄片影展開幕片