• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am

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

You have all 'proofs' of course.. keep jerking that junk of yours:)
Just to make sure - Ma has support rate ranging from 9% to 16% of the people. Everyone in Taiwan (almost - expect these 10+%) knows that Ma is "an inefficient bumbler" (courtesy by the ECONOMIST) and a lame duck in Chinese hands. When he started his presidency his support rate was at well over 70% - the way down to 10% was marked by failure after failure - no acomplishments at all - devoting most of his time to please his masters in Beijing.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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?
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.



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