The United Declaration of Music Freedom from Taiwan to the World: Starting from Here

Key information

3:00 pm to 4:45 pm
Main Building, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh St, London WC1H 0XG

About this event

Along with scholars, media professionals, musicians, and citizens who have hearts for music, arts, freedom, and human rights in Taiwan, I initiated a project to support freedom of expression for musicians, in Taiwan and the beyond.

In partnership with Freemuse, an organisation advocating the artistic freedom of expression, we released a declaration on the 3 March 2023, Music Freedom Day.

In this talk, the speaker will share the research and processes leading to the project, as well as the initial responses from the local and global communities. The conception of music censorship as well as its meanings for Taiwanese musicians will also be interrogated. 

Speaker's Biography

Dr Chen-Yu Lin

Dr Chen-Yu Lin is Lecturer in School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University. Her research has centered on transnational consumption of popular music and music censorship in the Sinophone world, especially in Taiwan. She is also a research-based documentary filmmaker.


The United Declaration of Music Freedom from Taiwan to the World

Freedom Shines Bright on the Tower of Songs

We are a group of scholars, media professionals, musicians, and citizens who have hearts for music, arts, freedom, and human rights in Taiwan. Lately, violations against the freedom of artistic expression have happened repeatedly on a global scale. For instance, Taiwanese musicians’ works and tours are banned or canceled in China, or, more catastrophically, the lives and works of Ukrainian artists are devastated and threatened by the Russian invasion.

While the threat to freedom of expression in Taiwan, Ukraine, and the rest of the world burdens us, we believe music holds a great power to celebrate love and freedom as it can cradle the broken and the meek.

Beyond entertainment and culture, music voices our beliefs. Therefore, we treasure the freedom of artistic creation and political expression. Once musicians are muted by politics or commercialism, their dignity and human rights are wounded. While Taiwan is excluded from the United Nations, we nevertheless support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which defends the freedom of expression.

We make the following declarations:

  • I, We urge the world not to turn a blind eye to musicians affected by China’s censorship and interference.

The political and artistic expression of Taiwanese musicians faces China’s oppression by the means of policy, censorship, and the market. Arbitrary censorship suffocates live performances, digital music, and streaming services alike. Nationalistic web mobs, aiming for public figures, chokes musicians with terror, and mutilate our media ecosystem and popular culture. Besides Taiwan, we understand and feel the people of Hong Kong, Uighur, and Tibet who stand bravely in the face of oppression.

  • II, We shall address the oppression of musicians and end its tyranny.

Taiwan bears the scars from generations of regimes that violated musicians’ human rights and freedom. Through writing, education, movement, and daily life, we reflect on our history as we emphasize on the importance of free artistic expression. We listen to the once-prohibited music and the voice of victims, which allows us to shield contemporary musical works from censorship and oppression. When freedom of expression is secured, tyranny shall hear the truth.

  • III, United are the voices of artists and citizens, and un-strangled is the voice of freedom.

We believe our diverse democracies can be the harbour in which musicians can compose freely. We are willing to stand firmly with the musicians of the world in the battle against oppression and hope they can enjoy the freedom to create or perform in spite of their political beliefs and identities. May freedom allow us to learn that music can be a truthful and powerful wave to shape our world.

This is but a start. We invite people who share our beliefs to contact us and sign the declaration. The list of participants will be updated constantly. Let us embrace freedom together.