• Thu
  • Oct 16, 2014
  • Updated: 8:00pm

Taiwan protesters march on President Ma Ying-jeou's office to demand halt to trade pact

Rejecting president's concessions, students and other citizens rally outside his Taipei office to voice opposition to trade deal with Beijing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 9:22am

Watch: Taiwan stages mass anti-China trade pact rally

Tens of thousands of Taiwanese gathered outside embattled President Ma Ying-jeou's office yesterday to increase pressure on him to retract a trade pact with Beijing that they say would hurt the island's economy.

The massive protest went ahead despite Ma offering concessions the night before to further scrutinise agreements with the mainland.

Wearing black shirts and yellow headbands, the protesters - shouting "Ma Ying-jeou, step down", "Safeguard our democracy" and "Withdraw the trade service pact" - rallied in front of Ma's office. Organisers said 500,000 came, while police put the figure at no more than 120,000.

They flooded most areas surrounding the Presidential Office Building along Chongqing South Road, with streets packed as far back as the Taipei Station 1.5 kilometres away, and to the legislature where some 200 students have been occupying the parliament chamber since March 18.

But police sealed off some streets around the president's office which was heavily barricaded. Some 6,000 police and military police were deployed.

Housewife Feng Yu-ting, 40, took her three young children, the youngest aged seven months, to the rally. "The government is just deceiving us. How will the services trade pact bring us more jobs? … It will just let mainlanders buy more properties here and make home prices rise, like what has happened in Hong Kong."

Chen Wei-ting, a student leader from one of the groups that organised the march, told the huge crowd: "This government thought they could deal with inexperienced students easily, but they are so wrong … because the turnout today shows them what is the true will of the public."

To end the stand-off, Ma had agreed on Saturday to meet three demands: to enact a law that would increase scrutiny over future pacts; to refrain from negotiations or reviews of cross-strait pacts before that scrutiny legislation is enacted; and to hold a national affairs conference with government and civil group leaders.

But instead of scrapping it, Ma said there would be an itemised review of the pact, as agreed by political parties.

Chen Deming , head of the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait in Beijing, yesterday said it would be "deeply regretful" if the agreement was not approved.

Lin Fei-fan, a student leader, scoffed at Ma's offers, saying that he did not satisfy their core demand to delay any review until the legislation to increase oversight is drafted.

"The so-called concessions from Ma are bogus," he said.

The protests have been snowballing since March 18, when students stormed the Legislative Yuan, and turned bloody on March 23, when police used water cannons to disperse crowds trying to invade the cabinet's offices.


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This article is now closed to comments

Formerly ******
Dear Dupes:
Strange to read that you dislike the so-called mob behavior in Thailand and Taiwan, yet, everyday in China there are many demonstrations and many of them violently are repressed by China's militarized police. The government of China denies basic rights and freedoms to many of its citizens and murders others. So, when free people read your silly comments one phrase comes to mind- brainwashed.
To paraphrase one of American's founding fathers, Ben Franklin, 'Those who favor security over freedom will end up with neither.'
Another interesting concept for you yahoos to consider is from Thomas Jefferson, another founding father who said, to the effect, 'A government that has the power to give to you anything, also has the power to take from you everything.'
Hence, keep your mainland Chinese fascist, cronyism on the mainland and not more than 200 miles from your shoreline. You know, international laws and such. Things most nations follow, but, for which, China believes that it can ignore, because it's a big or porentially big trading partner. Sheesh, dream on Mainlanders, dream on.
套用一位美國的開國元勳,本傑明·富蘭克林, “那些誰贊成抵押自由將最終都不是。 ”
另一個有趣的概念,你雅虎員工們要考慮的是從托馬斯·杰斐遜,另一美國誰說過,大意開國元勳, “有可能給你任何東西的權力的政府,也有從你採取一切的力量。 ”
Formerly ******
Dear Ones of a Seemingly Small Amount of Knowledge:
The issue is that the pact will be detrimental to small businesses in Taiwan. Taiwan is much more entrepreneurial and has far more creative types of people than does China. Accordingly, is has far more small businesses. The pact will give to large businesses an advantage not available to the small businesses.
So, of course, the demonstrators fear that Chinese cronyism and corruption will overwhelm Taiwanese culture. No nation is wiling to surrender any portion of its sovereignty for the sake of trade. The concept itself is incredibly stupid That so many mainland Chinese believe that this somehow makes it impossible for any nation to resist China's demands is laughable. This Chinese mainlanders attitude also shows a lack of sophistication on the part of analysts, commentators, and just regular the people of mainland China who subscribe to such a silly view of geo-politics.
Taiwanese are far different from Chinese the mainland. It's hard to imagine that they ever can again be one nation.
I bet not a single student in the crowd has read the pact through, or even just 15% of it. Looking at these students, I come to fully understand why Deng Xiaoping finally came to the painful decision to bring in the military in 1989. I just do not believe that these 20-year-olds know what is best for Taiwan than their elders. The economic fears of people of the lower income strata have been exploited to the full by opposition politicians.
-----But widening income gap is a worldwide phenomena, regardless of the regime's political status as a democracy or "authoritarian."
Exactly to the point............these Taiwan students are not even mature or knowledgeable enough to even know how this cross-strait pact will impact Taiwan for future years to come..........That's the problem with these so-called university students these days - lack of maturity and rational thinking. They just go and protest for the sake of protesting and have no f-ing clue as to the well-being of society...............When seeing this situation erupting in Taiwan, just realize that what took place back in 1989 in Tiannamen was necessary to shut the students up at that time.
Taiwanese democracy !
That is no better than that of Thailand !
It doesn't matter what university these students came from but judging by their actions, they are ignorant and immature and have no damnn clue as to what the pact is all about...........they are just guinea pigs out there trying to get whatever limelight they can get for doing absolutely meaningless protesting................time to get the military like in 1989 to shut these kids up.
Much, much better. The protests are organized by students from Taiwan's top universities - very good educated, smart, young people, who can read between the lines and understand well what government is cooking up with China.
If you don't belive, just fly over and see by yourself!
University students are not necessarily good, educated and smart. They often present as arrogant, immature, riotous. Do they KNOW the details of the trade pact and what its implications are for a fact, or are they protesting out of fervor and bias? I can watch mob behavior on TV without traveling, and I am not impressed.
President Ma lost his mind. The more he pushes "his" service trade deal with China (he did it on Saturday once again), the more people question his state of mental health.
Ma's mainland friends are keeping silent, but must be very nervous of seeing hundreds of thousands young Taiwanese who were not-involved in politics, turning into political activists overnight. Ma's China-friendly rhetoric is just adding oil to the fire.
I think it is more likely that the people (particularly the students) have lost their minds, not President Ma.




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