• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 3:57pm

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 are unfit to make such comments on Ma. He is a man of much greater integrity than most, what gives a common man like you the right to make such insulting remark? Have you accomplished anything worthy in your life to make you think you are fit for remarking someone much more accomplished than you and especially in such a casual way.
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.
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.
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..
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."
Taiwanese democracy !
That is no better than that of Thailand !
Everyone in the entire world knows that President Ma is a Beijing stooge. He and many of his party members have been promised by Beijing nice retirement packages in China after they retire. Ma loves China more than Taiwan, and at this point, he only cares about Beijing's money. The students are right to protest any closer dependence on China since we all know that Beijing does not keep its word. Just look at Hong Kong! Does anyone really believe Hong Kong will have a fair election? Beware the dragon and its false promises!
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.
I think it is more likely that the people (particularly the students) have lost their minds, not President Ma.
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
To follow anyone blindly would be the mark of ignorance, and wose, fear. Look at North Korea.
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.
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.

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
does their passports say 'Republic of Taiwan' btw? We dont need those 'street-mob' democracy either..
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 :)
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!
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.
So what should an elected president do? reverse his policy every time he sees street mob?
one more thing, how many PLA soldiers are stationed in Taiwan?
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.
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!!!!
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?
Agree, and Legco was allowed representatives from 'functional constituencies' only when Britain was on its way out of HK.
If Ma was such a failure why the heck was he elected TWICE? In fact Ma is a realist.. He knows that Taiwan needs China more than the other way around!!!
Or Germany following Hitler.
one more thing.. you should seriously consider getting an ’A' plug.. can smell from miles away!!!


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