Taiwan students occupy legislature over China trade deal

TAIPEI Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:34pm EDT

1 of 3. Students and other protesters hold banners inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei, March 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters in Taiwan opposed to a trade pact with China which they fear gives the mainland too much economic influence and access to opportunities have occupied Taiwan's legislature.

The protesters burst into the legislative chamber late on Tuesday and repulsed police efforts to evict them, media said.

The students said they were demanding an apology to the Taiwan people from President Ma Ying-jeou for the trade pact and that an initial review of the pact by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party be scrapped.

The KMT said this week its initial review of the pact had been completed despite opposition party concern about the mainland's growing influence on the Taiwanese economy.

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since Nationalist forces, defeated by the Communists, fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.

But in recent years, the two sides have built up extensive economic ties, and in February they held their first direct government-to-government talks, a big step towards expanding cross-strait dialogue beyond trade.

Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which has vowed to protect the island's economy from excessive Chinese influence, has said it would vote against the deal although it lacks numbers to block its passage.

A political analyst said the protest would not derail the deal.

"I don't think this is going to threaten the overall passage of the pact, though it may delay it a bit," said Lu Ya-li, a professor of political science at Taipei's Chinese Culture University. "But this pact is too important for Taiwan's economy - it will pass regardless."

The students are worried the pact would lead to an influx of mainland students into Taiwan universities, which could threaten opportunities for scholarships and jobs, he said.

The protesters were predominantly guided by political ideology and did not represent the majority of Taiwan students, he said.

Mainland China is the island's biggest trading partner and the two sides have signed a slew of agreements on everything from transport to tourism since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

Under the latest trade pact, China will open 80 of its service sectors to Taiwanese companies, while Taiwan will allow mainland investment in 64 sectors.

(Additional reporting by Michael Gold; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (12)
ChialingL wrote:
Those students and protestors are true hero.

Taiwan is not part of China. From historical views, it’s never been part of People of China or Republic of China. In 1895 Taiwan was ceded to Japan by China the Chin Dynasty, and since then Taiwan was part of Japan’s territory until KMT lost it’s power over China (POC) and retreated to Taiwan, and claimed a overthrew regime, ROC to be live in Taiwan.

Since then Taiwanese were brutally and unfairly treated by KMT, to be surviving we could only keep our mouth shut and tried not to provoke KMT and China until 2000, the first time in history that Taiwanese was elected to be the President. It was the moment when Taiwanese were proud to be Taiwanese. However KMT did their best to discredit this President while KMT is the true corruption party.

Now the President Ma (KMT) with only 9% supporting rate, he ignores whatever is important to the people, and does whatever is favour to China. We are worried one day KMT will sell and betray Taiwan to China. This China Trade Pact is only the beginning of it’s notion.

Please help we Taiwanese to share our voice. The last thing we want is to be like Ukraine or Kuwait.

Mar 18, 2014 12:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gavh wrote:
“China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since Nationalist forces, defeated by the Communists, fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949″

False. Taiwan was ruled by Japan until Japan was defeated during World War II, which is obviously before 1949. Check your facts and CORRECT THIS.

Mar 19, 2014 1:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Greenlite37 wrote:
The majority in Taiwan opposes the deal, and 70% want the pact to be examined through transparent discussions. The government MPs just announced because the pact has been sitting in parliament for more than 3 months, so it’s valid. The deal not only affect students, but allows Chinese business to compete with Taiwan’s small to medium businesses, which makes up a huge amount of Taiwan’s living, including dairies, restaurants, motels, bookshops, stationary stores, tourism, basically anything a medium income family business can do will be affected.

Your professor is talking BS and does not comment on how disgusting the pact was passed this week, through a government MP hiding in a small room announcing it through microphone.

Mar 19, 2014 2:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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