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  • Sep 1, 2014
  • Updated: 3:29pm
NewsChina
CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

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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aplucky1
oh you can run your big mouth all you want, taiwan is a country, they HAVE DEMOCRACY, they vote in their own president, they have their own currency, they have their own passports
and the mainland peasants can do nothing about this, never
but keep running your big fat mouth, it means zero
mercedes2233
Did you know that the local inhabitants of Taiwan couldn't even use their own languages or names or hold property? Two were imprisoned for 'theft' for moving the trunk of a tree when it blocked the only access to their compound. So much for Taiwan's democracy from the viewpoint of the original peoples. It wasn't until recent times that life became fairer for them.
mercedes2233
(Deleted)
lamlm38
does their passports say 'Republic of Taiwan' btw? We dont need those 'street-mob' democracy either..
mkt@mx-technology.com
Their passport doesn't say "People's Republic of China" either.
Are you "two-Chinas" supporter, bro?
And if China wouldn't bully Taiwan with 1500+ short and mid-range missiles, they would put Republic of Taiwan on their passports long time ago.
If Taiwan was part of China, would there be a need for a unification?
lamlm38
how many countries recognize it as 'Cuntry' other than those few banana republics they managed to buy over.. btw? dont gimme that 'we-dont-need-to-declare' ****!!! Declare independence the PLA will be in Taipei in no time.. dont expect the 7th fleet to protect Taiwan either, the DF missile scares the **** out of them now :)
mkt@mx-technology.com
Taiwan doesn't need to declare independence, becuase it has been independent for decades - and was not ruled by PRC for a single day since PRC's inception.
Taiwan isn't member of the UN - just like Switzerland now and PRC before 1971. Being UN member or not has nothing to do with statehood.
lamlm38
Taiwan belongs to China.. As in Chinese State which PRC is the master now.. Gee.. I can smell Southern Taiwan peasant logic!!!
Why do you think the Gov in Taiwan needed to buy recognition in South America if they are already an independent state.. ? How come no head of state ever visits Taiwan? Go figure!!!!
mercedes2233
The UN recognizes China as a country, at the expense of kicking Taiwan out. Are UN countries 'banana republics' and were all those countries bribed?
brahardja
Sorry, not "everyone in the entire world" agrees with you. Everyone does have a right to protest, but only to do so legally. The students have been illegally occupying the parliament for more than a week. They tried to overtake another last week. The students do not represent the people. The democratically elected president and the legislators, no matter how unpopular they are now, were chosen by the voters. If they are not doing their job then punish them at the next election. This is how democratic system works. Meanwhile, the students are blocking important laws from being passed and using taxpayers money to resources (using water and electricity in the parliament and forcing hundreds of policemen overtime everyday). Hong Kong is different from Taiwan. Hong Kong never had any form of independence since it's existence. I don't think the British government would have allowed an election for governor.

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