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Taiwan Students Protest China Trade Pact, Occupy Parliament

Students and other protesters hold banners inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei, March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Students and other protesters hold banners inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei, March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

On March 18th, students protesting the KMT’s Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement occupied Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan [aka “parliament” or “legislature”]. Students are concerned about the lack of transparency and secrecy surrounding the cross-strait pact, as well the effect expanded trade ties with Mainland China would have on Taiwan’s economy.

News about the student sit-in at the Legislative Yuan’s main assembly hall has been the top trending topic on Taiwan’s Yahoo News site.

As news about the student sit-in first broke, Taiwanese netizens had mixed reactions to students crashing the Legislative Yuan’s main assembly hall. While there were general calls of support and praise by Taiwanese who fear the cross-strait pact will hurt Taiwan’s economy and democracy, there were also concerns that the protest was being used by pro-DPP forces, and that students were too young to understand Taiwan and China’s economic relationship.

As the student occupation of the Legislative Yuan stretches into its first full week, student leaders of the protest have demanded to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou, make the details of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement known to the public, and revise some of the content of the cross-strait pact.

From Apple Daily Taiwan:

Cross-Strait Service and Trade Pact Protests: Students Crash the Legislative Yuan, Occupy Assembly Hall

In protest of the KMT assembly intensifying their push for the Cross-strait Service and Trade Pact (CSSTP) to be be passed into law, hundreds of students separately charged and broke through the main entrance and the Jinan Road side entrance of the Legislative Yuan. Students then made a beeline for the assembly hall, where they then sat on the floor in protest. Because security were caught off guard, the students even burst into the assembly hall’s inner chambers, where they began throwing objects from within and smashed glass, causing considerable chaos at the scene. By approximately 9:30pm, the assembly hall had been stormed, the assembly platform occupied, and protest banners unfurled on the platform and from the second floor of the assembly hall.

To prevent the police from removing them, students used chairs to seal the entrance to the assembly hall, fortifying their position, preventing police from entering the hall. At 9:55pm, they engaged in a clash of pushing and shoving with the police, and even splashed water at the police, with students shouting “give the assembly hall back to the people!”

Hundreds of students breached and occupied the Legislative Yuan assembly hall.
Hundreds of students breached and occupied the Legislative Yuan assembly hall.
Students climbed over the fence of the Legislative Yuan, crashing the assembly hall.
Students climbed over the fence of the Legislative Yuan, crashing the assembly hall.
The Legislative Yuan's speaker’s podium was also overturned by the students.
The Legislative Yuan’s speaker’s podium was also overturned by the students.
Security stationed at the Legislative Yuan were caught off-guard; the assembly hall was breached, then occupied by the students.
Security stationed at the Legislative Yuan were caught off-guard; the assembly hall was breached, then occupied by the students.
Security stationed at the Legislative Yuan were caught off-guard; the assembly hall was breached, then occupied by the students.
Security stationed at the Legislative Yuan were caught off-guard; the assembly hall was breached, then occupied by the students.
Security at the Legislative Yuan were overwhelmed, the assembly hall breached by the students.
Security at the Legislative Yuan were overwhelmed, the assembly hall breached by the students.
Students invaded the assembly hall, tussled with Legislative Yuan security guards.
Students invaded the assembly hall, tussled with Legislative Yuan security guards.
The Legislative Yuan assembly hall was invaded and occupied by the students.
The Legislative Yuan assembly hall was invaded and occupied by the students.
Students used chairs to block off the assembly hall doors.
Students used chairs to block off the assembly hall doors.
Students breach and occupy the assembly hall.
Students breach and occupy the assembly hall.
During the conflict, some students sustained injuries, and fell to the ground.
During the conflict, some students sustained injuries, and fell to the ground.
The attack upon and occupation of the assembly hall is unprecedented in the Legislative Yuan’s history.
The attack upon and occupation of the assembly hall is unprecedented in the Legislative Yuan’s history.
Students occupying the assembly hall quarrel with security at the entrance.
Students occupying the assembly hall quarrel with security at the entrance.
Students use chairs from the assembly hall to block off the entrance.
Students use chairs from the assembly hall to block off the entrance.
Students and security push, shove, and quarrel with each other; one student caught in between sustained injuries. (Zhao Yuanbin, Zhang Liangyi, Hang Dapeng / reporting from Taipei)
Students and security push, shove, and quarrel with each other; one student caught in between sustained injuries. (Zhao Yuanbin, Zhang Liangyi, Hang Dapeng / reporting from Taipei)

Comments from Apple Daily Taiwan:

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Ting Chieh Huang:

It’s clearly not just students.

Hung Ching Lam:

There’s no talking/reasoning with those Pro-Green retards who oppose anything to do with China!!!

紀健志: (referring to above comment)

Chen Zhiming, there’s no talking/reasoning with Pro-Ma Yingjeou retards who lick the ass of anything to do with China/CCP!!!

劉宇哲:

Our ruling party uses forceful, uncivilized ways to push through the cross-strait trade pact…
and there are still people who care about a thing like some glass being broken.

Taiwan is truly beyond saving.

Lala Chang:

I hope the people who see this will stop thinking it is just an impulsive protest of students. There are people from all walks of life at the scene of the sit-in. This should be an issue the whole nation pays attention to. Illegal means were used to force the cross-strait trade pact through the first stage, and this truly damages Taiwan’s democracy. The moment this kind of unequal trade pact passes, our days of suffering/hardship will begin. This is simply poisoning the Taiwanese people. The real violence being used is the erroneous and selfish policy decisions of the government!

Eric Cheng:

The children at the scene, these are things that should never have fallen upon you to do…

So I’m moved.

Pyro Tsai:

To tell you the truth, I really want to go and join them right now!

李克昂:

No matter if your reasons are proper, violence is wrong!

Democracy shouldn’t be like this!

TAIPEI, TAIWAN - MARCH 19:  Students and protestors occupy the Taiwanese Parliament to protest against the act by the ruling Kuomintang party to ratify a controversial service and trade agreement with China on March 19, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan. Over 200 students broke into the Taiwan Parliament and took over the main chamber in protest against the service and trade aggreement.  (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)

From Yahoo News Taiwan:

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Lin Fei-fan: Will Continue Occupying Parliament, Expand Protest

National Taiwan University student [and protest leader] Lin Fei-fan appeared personally to issue a statement this evening (21st) around 6:10pm. He says the Cross-Strait Service and Trade Pact is no longer as simple as a problem with parliament [the Legislative Yuan]. He says Ma Ying-jeou should take responsibility, and Wang Jin-ping too should openly respond to student’s questions. On behalf of the students opposing the “black box” [passage of the] cross-strait pact, Lin Fei-fan announced that tomorrow they will call on the people throughout the nation to stage sit-ins, surrounding KMT party offices everywhere, and exert pressure on legislators. The occupation of the Legislative Yuan will continue to call for support from the public, to enlarge the protest. He says this is directed against the failure of representative democratic politics, and the KMT’s lack of genuine soul-searching.

Comments from Facebook:

薇薇:

Add oil! We support you!

Matt Chiu:

Ask students at the protest what the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement is, and there’d probably only be a few who could answer. Students who are normally fawning over big rubber ducks, grabbing Japanese chocolate bars, playing video games, obsessively watching My Love from the Star, of course don’t know what the cross-strait service trade agreement is. A bunch of people following others blindly creating a disturbance [for excitement] being used by politicians, who go there to “check in” [on Facebook] to get a free lunch box, and then cry out a political slogan. This is what we call a “student movement?”

Michelle Liao:

Everyone please think back to what happened after Hong Kong and China signed CEPA, and the situation people in Hong Kong are in now. Hong Kong’s mistake must not happen in Taiwan!

徐明濂:

I support the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, and oppose students forcibly occupying parliament, turning our national flag upside down, and damaging public property.

Cabrera Lee:

Why not just up the stakes? Dissolve parliament and have them hold new elections. Also, don’t just surround the KMT party headquarters/offices, but the DPP headquarters/offices too! That’s the only way to make things fair~

李昀修:

I support the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, oppose “black box” [non-transparency], oppose student violence, and oppose destruction of public property and the occupation of parliament.

Mei Hui Yu:

If anyone dares hurt these children, we mothers and grandmothers will definitely join the cause. I also don’t know what the President is afraid of? Why can’t he explain clearly and make everyone understand [the trade pact], forcing these children to protest like this?

王國忠:

Continue to close the country to trade, continue to suffer from political infighting, and continue to collect 22k NTD salaries; stupid brats, the ones who will suffer in the future will be yourselves!

陳曉方:

Just you wait until A-Liu [a derogatory Taiwanese term for mainland Chinese] comes to Taiwan, then you’ll know what is polluted won’t just be air quality.

taiwanese-students-occupy-legislative-yuan-protest-cross-strait-service-trade-pact-a

藍小若:

People who are against the cross-strait trade pact, dare to protest in the streets.
People who support the cross-strait trade pact, only dare to pat themselves on the back in front of their computer.

Hawk Wang:

If this were a trade pact between America and Taiwan with the same terms, would you sign?

黃承泰:

The black box [secretive, non-transparent] handling of the cross-strait pact is really wrong. But it’s not to be discarded/rejected just because you university students say so! Then what’s the point of having government? Are you really able to represent Taiwan’s twenty-some million people?

Matt Chiu:

Your mouths say you’re against China, against the cross-strait trade pact, but the pants, shoes, and socks you wear on your bodies were all made there. Even the computer mouse under your hand was made there too! Hehe!

郭雅樺:

If the cross-strait trade pact passes, Taiwanese people are doomed! We absolutely must take a stand to the very end! Keep at it!

林裕景:

Mainland investors come to Taiwan and make money, and with that also create job opportunities as well. When it comes to salaries, the government will naturally ensure that they are equitable. If service is bad [from mainland companies], we can just refuse to buy from or use them. It’s always said how Koreans don’t use our mobile phones and we all say over and over again how we love Taiwan, but look at how many people are holding Samsung or Apple phones.

Kenny Chen:

If the protesting students have the guts [spine, principles, sincerity], don’t apply to companies that have investments or factories in mainland China after graduation!

賴彥智:

You motherfucking traitors who support Ma sold out Taiwan!

董至誠:

Go, students! Your elders in society support you. I truly feel sorry that you have to fight for your own futures.

taiwanese-students-occupy-legislative-yuan-protest-cross-strait-service-trade-pact-e

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