News / Asia

    Taiwan Protesters Occupy Legislature Over China Trade Pact

    • Students protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact rally in front of a wall of police outside of the occupied legislature, in Taipei, Taiwan, March 20, 2014.
    • Students protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact occupy the legislative floor, in Taipei, Taiwan, March 20, 2014.
    • Students protesting a China-Taiwan trade pact barricade themselves in legislature in Taipei, March 20, 2014. (Xiaobei Zhang/VOA)
    • Students protesting a China-Taiwan trade pact sleep inside the legislature in Taipei, March 20, 2014. (Xiaobei Zhang/VOA)
    • A student occupying the legislature in Taipei told VOA his mother is worried that he is in the building, March 20, 2014. (Xiaobei Zhang/VOA)
    • Students protesting against a China Taiwan trade pact occupy the legislative floor, in Taipei, Taiwan, March 20, 2014.
    • Student protesters against a China-Taiwan trade agreement barricade the entrance to the legislature in Taipei, March 19, 2014.
    • Hundreds of students protesting a China-Taiwan trade pact surround the legislature in Taipei, March 19, 2014.
    • Students and other protesters collide with police inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei, March 18, 2014.
    VOA News
    Police and protesters have been engaged in a standoff in Taiwan's legislature after students stormed the building to demand the government scrap a trade deal with China.

    The protesters Wednesday knocked down a large metal gate as they entered the legislative chamber late Tuesday and were using chairs to keep out police.  Authorities said several officers were slightly injured when they made a failed attempt to clear the chamber.

    The students said the deal would endanger Taiwanese jobs and increase Beijing's growing influence.

    Student organizer Shi Yilun told VOA that the protesters felt the ruling Kuomintang, or KMT, party has bypassed the democratic process.

    “The public hearings have not taken into consideration the voice of the people, the voice of all parties, or the questions and challenges all sides have about the Cross Strait Service Trade Agreement.  On the contrary, on February 17 (the KMT) did something that violated fundamental democratic procedures and was without regard to the people of Taiwan. They violated what we authorized them to do at that time.  We’ve come here to take back our rights,” said Shi.

    The students are upset that a government committee passed a review of the deal despite opposition protests.

    KMT Policy Committee Chairman Lin Hong-chi told reporters that the protesters were the ones damaging Taiwan's democracy.

    “From last night until the present moment, a portion of the populous has been misled by a small number of people with ulterior motives into occupying the Legislative Yuan.  This has caused great harm to Taiwan’s democracy.  How sacred are the halls of parliament.  To trample on a palace of democracy is to trample on parliament, which is the same as trampling on the people,” said Lin.

    Taiwan-China economic ties have been strong for years.  Political relations have also grown warmer following historic high level talks last month.

    Taiwan's opposition is worried about excessive Chinese influence.  The opposition has vowed to vote against the trade deal, but does not have the strength to block it.

    Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford said the deal was too important for the island to pass up.

    “The Cross Strait Service Trade Agreement has a stake in the nation’s prospects.  Mainland China is such a big market that if we don’t sign this agreement our competitiveness will drop.  How will we join regional mechanisms in the future?  Everyone had better calmly consider over [this], [we] must not be influenced by ideology," said Chang.

    The trade deal is part of the far-reaching Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA, signed between Taiwan and China in 2010.

    Under the subdivision of the pact now under discussion, Chinese and Taiwanese service companies would increase investments in each other's territory.

    Chang Ching is a Taiwan-based research fellow at the Society for Strategic Studies.  He told VOA the dangers of the deal were being overblown by some in the opposition who have their eye on elections later this year.

    "Many of the impacts to the service sector in Taiwan are overstated by the opposition party.  But that's just the reality of life.  Because in the opposition party, you will definitely find some who want to mobilize the public in order to get support (and) in order to get political leverage," he said.

    Chang said the opposition did have a legitimate complaint about the way in which the ruling party decided to review the agreement.

    "Originally, [the KMT] promised they would review the agreement - article by article, item by item, clause by clause.  But eventually, they found another way to interpret that.  [They said] since it is an administrative agreement, it can automatically be passed," he said.

    The debate over the trade deal comes as many in Taiwan are concerned over steadily improving political ties with China.

    Last month, Taiwan's top official on China affairs, Wang Yu-chi, visited the mainland, where he held Taiwan's first ever political talks with China.

    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.

    Hongshen Zhao contributed to this report from Taipei and William Gallo contributed from Washington.

    (This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.)

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Anonymous
    April 09, 2014 8:44 PM
    "On the contrary, on February 17 (the KMT) did something that violated fundamental democratic procedures and was without regard to the people of Taiwan."

    Umm, it's March 17th. Just for correction.

    by: Bernardo Pa from: Newport Coast, CA 92657
    March 22, 2014 6:14 PM
    Taiwan and China are different countries, any of the treaty to be signed, the government has to show to the people in Taiwan and to grab the first permit/approved from the people, then they can go to sign/discuss it... this time, they did in very bad and dishonest way just because the President Ma got no balls to say NO to China...he did a very poor job without courage. He let all of us down...

    by: @Hannahxsommer
    March 22, 2014 8:35 AM
    Occupy Congress 2014 Taiwan
    Live Text Broadcast Website (English Version)

    http://www.occupycongress2014taiwan.com/

    Kindly Scroll Down to:
    ===↓ Live Broadcast Below ===
    And Refresh Page from time to time

    by: strawberry from: Taiwan
    March 21, 2014 11:01 PM
    With high unemployment rates and deficits among big corporations in Taiwan, I wonder how have the economic ties IMPROVED recently?? The news is obvious not objective!
    In Response

    by: Andy from: Los Angeles
    March 22, 2014 12:29 AM
    I read that the unemployment rate in Taiwan dropped recently. Is that not true?

    by: Tim Budong from: Taiwan
    March 21, 2014 2:57 PM
    Taiwan would be just better of if treated by the PRC as if it would be a separate state. People here especially the younger generation, to whom ethnic undertones of "one china" seem as backwards as they are, know this very well but are left with little else they can do. Polls cropping up here every few hours are pretty clear on the silent majority supporting the protests and also the occupation itself, in contrast to what this article inclines.

    by: Kai from: California
    March 21, 2014 2:08 PM
    You first accuse VOA is biased toward KMT, then the article, now who is biased... You express your opinion about what you believe, then say this article is not objective, now who is being subjective. Keep an open mind on this article, not to oppose because it's against what you believe.

    by: Kevin from: California
    March 21, 2014 1:57 PM
    You first accuse the VOA is biased toward pro-KMT, then believe the report is biased, now who is biased.... funny. Do not oppose because you're biased.

    by: Konan from: Indiana, USA
    March 21, 2014 12:35 PM
    Lazy, biased reporting. The VOA Mandarin service is heavily influenced by a pro-China perspective. The whole article is missing the point, which is NOT about whether the trade pact is good or bad. The students acted out of their own will and are NOT under the influence of the opposition party. The opposition party supports the protesters, not the other way around.

    by: Jane from: Taiwan
    March 21, 2014 9:29 AM
    Absolutely not objective! Irresponsible article!!Those students were not misled or with ulterior intention!!The threat China tried to impose on Taiwan is never overstated!Once China has control over Taiwan economy, democracy and freedom of speech in Taiwan are bound to die. Never want to be a chinese.

    by: Paul from: Earth
    March 21, 2014 7:55 AM
    One line to this report : Peeking the world from the hole of a straw.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora