News / Asia

Tens of Thousands Protest Against Taiwan's President

Demonstrators shout slogans and march in protest against the polices of Taiwan's China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou in Taipei, Taiwan, January 13, 2013.
Demonstrators shout slogans and march in protest against the polices of Taiwan's China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou in Taipei, Taiwan, January 13, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
Tens of thousands of people marched in Taipei Sunday in an unusually large rally against the island’s president. Angry Taiwanese called to the streets by the major opposition party say President Ma Ying-jeou has refused to make changes that would improve economic conditions for workers. 

Protesters shouted for President Ma to leave office as they marched through central Taipei. Some people beat drums and flashed ceremonial knives to vent their anger. One group pushed empty baby strollers to protest the high cost of raising children. They also asked President Ma to reconsider utility price hikes and scrap part of a retirement system for government employees.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Deputy Secretary-General Lin You-chang says a six-month backlog of unmet demands led to the event Sunday.

He says these sources of public anger have been accumulating, making now the right time to call for action.

President Ma has been in office since 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 for a second and, by law, final term. His Nationalist Party also controls parliament.

Organizers placed the protest head count at 150,000, though outside estimates put the figure closer to 50,000.

Younger Taiwanese say housing prices are too high for first-time buyers in two of the island’s biggest cities. Those worries followed reports in 2011 of a widening wealth gap, one reason that lower middle-class couples give for not having babies.

State-controlled electricity and gasoline prices both went up last year, as well. The opposition also says that 80 percent of Taiwanese want the government to cut back an old scheme for annual bonuses for retired military and civil servants.

A recent poll by local television network TVBS found the president’s approval rating just 13 percent, the lowest since he took office. Chen Yu-liu, a 49-year-old housewife who is out of work, says labor issues have stirred public anger.

She says retirement schemes are flawed. Common laborers do not get anything, and people have to put off retirement. College graduates can not find work and salaries have fallen for 14 years, Chen adds, citing a long list of problems.

The government expects 2012 economic growth to come in at less than 2 percent, slower than original forecasts. Officials point to a weak global economy, which in turn cools demand for Taiwanese exports such as machinery and consumer electronics.

President Ma has looked largely to Taiwan’s old political rival China for trade, transit and investment deals that could propel the island economy. The two sides have signed 18 accords, boosting two-way trade to $100 billion in the first 10 months of last year. The president’s spokesman said Sunday that Ma had no comment on the rally.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Paul from: China
January 14, 2013 8:34 AM
If protest can solve problem,please keep on doing it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More