• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 9:24pm

'Occupy parliament' students give Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou a deadline to stop China trade deal

Protestors occupying Taiwan's legislature call on president and speaker to withdraw controversial trade pact with mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:40am

Students occupying Taiwan's legislative chamber threatened yesterday to expand their protest if the authorities refused to withdraw a controversial cross-strait services trade pact from legislative review.

Protestors issued their demand to President Ma Ying-jeou and legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng as the unprecedented take-over of the Legislative Yuan entered its third day.

"Ma must commit to retracting the agreement from the legislature for review [and] pass a bill aimed at supervising all agreements reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in this legislature session," said Chen Wei-ting, a leader of the "occupy legislature" student protest. He said Ma must also not "negotiate or sign any pacts with the [mainland] Chinese government before the bill is approved".

Chen said Wang must declare null and void a unilateral announcement by Ma's ruling Kuomintang to send the pact to the floor today for review. The students would push their protest to the next phase if they received no response by noon, said Chen, who stopped short of saying what such an escalation might entail.

The protest, which has attracted more than 3,000 protesters inside and outside the chamber, has so far remained largely peaceful.

Chen is a member of the Black Island Nation Front, which was formed in September to oppose the trade agreement signed in June by Beijing and Taipei.

KMT lawmaker Chang Ching-chung, who had led a joint committee meeting on how to carry out a line-by-line review of the pact, abruptly announced on Monday that the pact would be sent to the legislative floor in its entirety.

The move triggered angry protests by legislators from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which thought it had a deal with the KMT for an itemised review.

Students subsequently invaded the Yuan to protest against what they said was a "shameless" reversal by the KMT.

Ma said at a KMT meeting on Wednesday that the pact must be passed before the current legislative session ends in July to ensure Taiwan's global competitiveness.

Yesterday, the president said he would hold a meeting this morning with Wang, Premier Jiang Yi-huah and Vice-President Wu Den-yih to discuss ways of resolving the stand-off, despite previous pledges to stay out of the legislative process.

Wang said the legislature would cancel its scheduled floor meeting today.

The speaker urged the students to remain rational and reasonable, saying the protest was the result of "someone who broke a promise", which was taken to be a reference to Chang. He said he was meeting with everyone concerned in an effort to resolve the issue.


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This article is now closed to comments

I didn’t see Americans, Canadians or Mexicans stormed their legislative chambers when the United Stets initiated a NAFTA agreement between US, Canada and Mexico. Many Americans, Canadians or Mexicans strongly opposed NAFTA agreement; they also like the Taiwanese fear of losing their jobs and US growing influence. In addition, the United States, Canada or Mexico without any public hearings, listen to the voice of the people.
President Ma's government has said the agreement won't only spur more trade with China, Taiwan's largest export market, but will also encourage more countries to sign similar trade pacts with Taiwan and boost its integration into the regional economy. However, the opponents have argued that the benefits of the pact will be largely enjoyed by conglomerates and that by widening the door for Chinese investors; the small and medium-size businesses that are the backbone of Taiwan's economy will be unable to compete. The opposition underestimates Taiwanese competitiveness.
Again, I am a Taiwanese originally, 100% Taiwanese 來自宜蘭縣,圓山鄉,大湖底,一仙村 which is very secluded country side, only rice patties, mountains and lakes, and I am not taking sides. The extraordinary beauty of Taiwan and Taiwan can be referred to as paradise on earth. Blue lakes and green mountains, and beautiful landscape covered with immature democratic system of violence, wanton, frenzied, poorly educated lawlessness.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍
This occupation is absurd.......in a republic, there is no place for storming a legislative hall. The trade agreement was formulated through a democratically elected Legislature. It so happens that a supermajority of the legislature is KMT, further proving the people's distrust in DPP officials. If the people don't like the KMT being in control of passing bills and trade agreements, then DONT elect them in 2016. It is that simple. Use the ballot, not the occupation of the Yuan to change your country's policy.
I am very familiar the United States constitutional laws. Even the United States has the most sophisticated legal system. However, there is a limit freedom of speech or protest. The US constitutionality protected right to engage in peaceful protest in traditional public forums. However, US government can impose time, place and manner restrictions on speech, for example the US government may require permits for large protests or prohibit unreasonably loud demonstrations that disturb other. These restrictions are generally permissible as long as they are reasonable and not based on contents.
Free speech rights do not extend to occupy legislative floor. Wall Street protests of The United States in New York are a good example. New York police were hitting protesters, spraying people if they didn't move fast enough. Around 200 people were arrested, including a member of the City Council, at least a half-dozen journalists covering the confrontation.
Fortunately, Taiwan is small, easy to manage if something goes wrong. Yes, many developing countries have the same problems. But Taiwan should compare with maturely democratic countries, such as sound constitutional, legal and uniform distribution of educational level. If Taiwan does not want to become another chaotic Third World country, such as people kill each other or been massacred by others. Then, Taiwan is necessary to conduct a major reform within the system.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 03/21/14 美國
This isn't "democracy."
Its rather embarrassing to Taiwan, and plays directly into the Chinese Communist Party's hands
obviously these doped out college kids never met their fathers
Dai Muff
It is appalling how little you are covering the Taiwan events. I get more news from Facebook these days than from your pages.
Guarding Democracy | Due Process | Procedural Justice
Occupy Congress 2014 Taiwan
Live Text Broadcast Website (English Version)
Kindly Scroll Down to:
===↓ Live Broadcast Below ===
And Refresh Page from time to time
Leave the Chinese Communists out of it.


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