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Taiwan Student Leaders to be Prosecuted

  • VOA News

FILE - Chen Wei-ting, one of the student leaders of the Sunflower Movement.

FILE - Chen Wei-ting, one of the student leaders of the Sunflower Movement.

Taiwanese prosecutors have filed charges against those who participated in a student-led protest movement that occupied Taiwan's legislature for weeks last year.

State media say 118 people were charged Tuesday with crimes including trespassing, obstruction of official business, and instigating others to commit a crime.

Among those charged were student leaders Lin Fei-Fan and Chen Wei-ting, as well as researcher and university professor Huang Kuo-chang.

The protesters last March stormed the legislature and held a 23-day sit-in there to demand the government scrap a trade deal with China.

The demonstrators eventually pulled back after the government promised to review the bill and provide greater transparency on its deals with Beijing.

The pact, under which Chinese and Taiwanese service companies would increase investments in each other's territory, remains stalled in Taiwan's legislature.

The protests, which became known as the Sunflower Movement, reflect growing concerns over China's expanding influence in Taiwan.

Taiwan split from China following a civil war in 1949. Beijing still regards it as a breakaway province that will someday be reunified with the mainland.

Economic ties have improved in recent years, especially after the somewhat Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Political relations have also grown warmer following historic high-level talks last year between Chinese and Taiwanese leaders.

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