Thousands of Taiwanese were surrounding and occupying the Legislative Yuan (LY) in Taipei on March 19 after legislators from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) expedited the review process of a services trade pact with China that many fear could have damaging repercussions on Taiwan’s economy and sovereignty.
Controversy over the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) began in June 2013 after negotiators from Taiwan’s semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) signed the agreement, a follow-on to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010, with their Chinese counterparts. The breadth and scope of the reciprocal agreement, which was negotiated behind closed doors and would open various sectors of the service industry to China, was such that many legislators from the KMT, whose leadership favors closer ties with China, balked, fearing the pact’s repercussions on their constituencies.
After the KMT imposed internal measures making dissent grounds for expulsion, its reluctant legislators fell in line and began the process of passing the pact in the legislature.
|Thousands gather outside the LY on March 19|
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here. (Photos by the author)