News / Asia

    Police Quash Mass Taiwan Protest Against China Trade Deal

    Demonstrators protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact clash with riot police clearing the government Cabinet buildings in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, March 24, 2014.
    Demonstrators protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact clash with riot police clearing the government Cabinet buildings in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, March 24, 2014.
    Ralph Jennings
    Police clashed with hundreds of protesters in Taipei Monday after the group upset over a trade deal with China broke into the government’s chief office complex. As hundreds more remain camped out in Taiwan’s parliament, the government weighs what to do next.
     
    About 2,000 police officers expelled hundreds of protesters from Taiwan’s guarded cabinet offices before dawn on Monday. The government mobilized riot squads and water cannons to oust demonstrators in a five-hour struggle. Protesters want to stop quick approval of the trade deal, calling that approach risky as China claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan and wants political reunification.
     
    Lin Nan-hsin, a 20-year-old protester from a university in central Taiwan, was among those expelled by police.
     
    He said there are two camps of protesters, one that advocates peace and the other that prefers a more extreme form of protest as the only way of getting the government’s attention. Lin said that in the end, there was a discussion with the lead protest planners about whether to break into the cabinet complex and finally a go-ahead was given.
     
    Taiwan and China signed a service trade pact in June following several other trade and investment agreements reached since 2008. Taiwan says the deal to open 80 Taiwanese service trade categories to China and 64 Chinese sectors to Taiwan will modernize a large segment of the island’s economy and help build a foundation for free trade agreements with other nations. Supporters claim it will lead to more jobs for workers and more choices for consumers. Opponents are skeptical of the deal’s economic benefits and wary of the government’s bid to forge closer ties with Beijing.
     
    Analysts in Taipei expect protests to delay passage of the trade pact, setting back Taiwanese enterprises and upsetting officials in China.
     
    As legislators prepared to ratify the deal this month or next, hundreds of university students broke into parliament last Tuesday night and have occupied it since then. They first called for an item-by-item vote to scope out any clauses bad for Taiwan, but many are now calling for a renegotiation of the whole deal.
     
    President Ma Ying-jeou defended the trade pact at a Sunday news conference, saying that previous market openings gave Taiwanese consumers more choices.
     
    He said countries all over the world worry about local industry when faced with opening markets. Taiwan has been open since early days, he added, and by the 1960s the American service industry already had entered Taiwan. He said the result was that McDonalds, KFC and Starbucks all came in.
     
    But the president’s comments inflamed protests, attracting tens of thousands around the island and leading to the cabinet complex break-in where clashes caused dozens of injuries. Taiwan’s premier said Monday protesters had usurped the cabinet offices. Police arrested dozens of protesters and were questioning dozens more.
     
    Many protesters ousted from the cabinet offices have returned to their positions at parliament and say they will not back down. Political analysts in Taiwan say government officials must negotiate face to face with demonstrators to stop the protests altogether.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora