The First Conversation between Smangus and the Police (before P’surux Btunux)

Time: May 06 2007 (The day before P’surux Btunux, the Tayal traditional ceremony which declares territorial sovereignty. P’surux Btunux involves setting up a stone marker to make covenant)

Place: Smangus Visitor Center

Smangus villager: Batu (the Directro-Convener of Smangus Action Alliance)

Police officers: Officer Feng from Tai-Gang Police Station, and the Chief Officer of Public Order Unit, Hengshan branch, Hsin-Chu County Police Bureau

On May 6th, Smangus and the Alliance issued a press release, announcing that an ancient and sacred ceremony P’surux Btunux will be held on May 7th. . Through this ceremony, Smangus declares its rejection to improper management of the state and its determination to manage its Qyunam (traditional territory). The press release also states that Smangus will set up a registration station in its entrance. After the press release was issued, police officers phoned in and physically visited the village several times on the 6th, the day before the ceremony, to express that they were concerned the barrier installation may be inappropriate, and that they wish Smangus villagers would consider the legality of such action.
1. The Conversation in the Smangus Visitor Center
At one pm, the Alliance convener Batu and Officer Feng from Tai-Gang Police Station had a conversation. Here are the main issues Officer Feng raised:

Officer Feng: 1. If there is going to be such an activity, the Police Station would expect to be notified. 2. The Police Station is concerned about Smangus’s actions. 3. From the press release regarding the P’surux Btunux ceremony, the supervising body (the Public Order Unit of the Heng-Shang branch) considers that it is “likely” a violation of the Assembly and Parade Act.
Batu: “La? (How come?) Please explain to your supervisors, the P’surux Btunux tomorrow is a very sacred Tayal ceremony.

Officer Feng: If you insist that this activity be held, we will send many officers to express our concern should our supervisors so order.

Batu: baha la, mha mwah simu lga, nanu pkita ta qalang myan suxan! (How come? If you really think this is the way it has to be, we’ll see you tomorrow in the village.)
2. Heng-Shan branch phoned in to express their concern that the P’surux Btunux on May 7th violates the Assembly and Parade Law.

Around 9 pm on May 6th, the convener of the Alliance Batu received a phone call from the Chief Officer of the Public Order Unit in Heng-Shan branch.

Chief Officer: “I’ve looked up related statutes. Religious ceremonies and activities are not subject matters of the Assembly and Parade Law. So for the activities tomorrow, let’s say that I ‘have given you permissions’.
“But do you have banners for tomorrow’s ceremony?”
Batu: “Yeah. How could this kind of ceremony violate the Assembly and Parade Law? If Chief Officer has time tomorrow, we welcome your participation. It is a very ancient and sacred Tayal ceremony.”
Translated by Shun-Ling Chen, SJD candidate, Harvard Law School &TIPA(Taiwan Indigenous Peoples' (NGO) Alliance)

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