On July 23, Beigang's Wude Temple launched a demonstration of the faithful from temples all over Taiwan to Kategelan Boulevard. This was to protest against the DPP government's rumored plans to ban the burning of incense, paper money and setting off of firecrackers. The lively demonstration arrived at the Boulevard in the afternoon. Over 100 temples and shrines processed in the road around the Liberty Plaza park and then on to Kategalen Boulevard. Prior to the demonstration, the government made a last -itch attempt to persuade them that the move was to reduce, not ban, use of incense. Apparently, before the demonstration started, the DPP administration arrived at a compromise of one stick of incense in one censer.
Around 2 pm the faithful from over one hundred temples and shrines across Taiwan gathered at Liberty Plaza and set off towards the Jingfu Gate. They carried gods on sedan chairs, which were carried over the prostrate disciples lying on the road. Temple singer, Lai Ming-wei, and traditional temple dances formed part of the procession.
==LAI MING-WEI singer==
Reducing incense should be a decision for each individual temple, I think that on matters of religious faith, there should be no interference, and every temple should be able to decide for itself.
Before setting out, on FB, Lai said that he grew up around a temple, and took part in temple processions all his life, and for him, the scent of burning incense signified a great power. He hoped to call on people to come together on the streets to defend traditional customs. Despite the intense heat, many believers came out to support the procession.
Because I think the custom of burning incense should not be stopped. (So you support their demands?) Yes because I think it is unjust.
The organisers said that over 10,000 people attended. Originally it was planned for all the gods to be in place at 3 pm, but it took over an hour for them to all arrive at the Boulevard. The protest organiser, director of Beigang's Wude Temple, Lin An-le took the platform and said that he had been asked why the demonstration was held.
==LIN AN-LE Director of Beigang's Wude Temple==
Originally it was one furnace to burn paper money and three incense censers, and many of us temples regulated ourselves to have one censer and one stick of incense, right? The government uses the excuse of environmental protection to exercise too much control and actively manage us, so we feel anxious and worried about our incense, but we all feel that this tradition cannot be broken, right?
Lin emphasised that one censer, one stick of incense was the bottom line, but that each temple should be allowed to decide for itself whether to reduce furnaces and incense burning. He said that the government should respect them and not interfere. In the morning, the Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan personally demonstrated that the reduction in incense policy was a reduction not a halt by visiting Lungshan Temple and offering incense.
==LEE YING-YUAN Environmental Protection Minister==
It is easy to confuse 'reduction' with a halt to the practise, in fact, we can reduce the burning of money, incense, and setting off firecrackers, use less paper, less incense and fewer firecrackers.
The presidential office there was no policy to halt the burning of incense, but it would respectfully encourage temples to burn less. It would also proactively control imported paper money and incense.
TRANSLATED BY：CLARE LEAR
容易和 滅 搞混
其實我們減金 減香 減炮
也可以用少金 少香 少炮
記者 黃怡菁 郭俊麟 應磊奇 台北報導