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Taiwanese metal band Flesh Juicer performs at a music festival in Taichung, Taiwan, on July 15. (Photo by Chris Horton)
Tea Leaves

Martial law to mosh pit: Taiwan's path to freedom

Anniversary of move toward democracy sparks celebration and reflection


Center stage and donning his trademark dreadlocked pig mask, Gigo Pro, lead singer of Flesh Juicer, dedicated the metal band's next song to Taiwanese free-speech activist Deng Nan-jung. Hundreds of mostly black-clad 20-somethings screamed in approval as the band's brutal energy instantly whipped up a mosh pit.

Flesh Juicer was one of a dozen Taiwanese bands performing at a music festival in an old Japanese-built brewery to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of martial law under the Kuomintang, or KMT. After being routed by Mao Zedong's Communists, who had laid low during China's war with Japan, the remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949, initiating four decades of martial law that ended in 1987.

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