• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:24pm

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

So what should an elected president do? reverse his policy every time he sees street mob?
The possibility of anti-CCP solidarity between Taiwan and Hong Kong must be a source of concern for Beijing.
Anti-CCP is just the facade. Anti-government is the real thing, which is always a popular thing, even in the richest and most democratic countries.
Just a question. Do u know exactly what this trade deal is about then? And why are u so ageinst that Young people protest ageinst somthing they Think Will have an profound impact on their lives in the future? actully the trade deal as it is formed is most benefital for companys, buisnismen and politicans in China not for normal Ppl in Taiwan .
taiwan is laughing at hong kong
they do not want to end up like us, letting their OWN COUNTRY BEING OVERRUN by peasants with stolen - filthy money
It just shows how presumptuous and ignorant you are!! Taiwan is not a 'Country' and never will be.. Majority of HK residents today came from same 'peasant' family or descendent of the same 'peasant' family..
one more thing, how many PLA soldiers are stationed in Taiwan?
one more thing.. you should seriously consider getting an ’A' plug.. can smell from miles away!!!
Come on, Taiwan is an independent country and was not rulled by Chinse sinc e 1895.
It's a vibrant democracy, even with one dominant party with Chinese roots (KMT). Nevertheless, Chinese can only dream of this kind of democracy and rule of law that Taiwan citizens enjoy every day.

Anonymous, before you celebrate Taiwan's democracy further, do you know how the Kuomintang treated Taiwan's original inhabitants? An extract from an Encyclopedia reads "The total number of victims of the Kuomintang terror is unknown, because many executions were extrajudicial and not recorded. According to declassified information, most extrajudicial executions were carried out in the 1950s, when 130,000 people went missing. Torture and (extrajudicial) executions were widespread and systematic until the late 1970s. Reports by the Ministry of Justice, parliamentary interpellation, and other government sources suggest that 30,000 political trials involving more than 200,000 individuals were held in military courts. About 20 percent of the accused were sentenced to death or punished with lifelong imprisonment. Some 60 percent received prison terms between one and fifteen years. Others had to undergo reformatory education." Maybe the Chinese who are in Taiwan celebrate its democracy, but it doesn't sound like one to the locals.




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