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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora