Friday, April 11, 2014

Sunflowers end occupation of Taiwan’s legislature

'We are fighting a war against a state apparatus with massive resources, an authoritarian stranglehold on the executive and legislative branches of government, and a tight-knit organization. This is war.'

Five hundred and eighty five hours after they led an unprecedented occupation of the Legislative Yuan to protest a trade pact with China, hundreds of Taiwanese on April 10 vacated the country’s parliament and were welcomed by tens of thousands of supporters during a ceremony high in emotions.

As promised during a press conference on April 7, the about 300 activists from the Sunflower Movement pulled out of the legislature at 6 pm, ending an occupation that has sparked intense debate within Taiwanese society and attracted the attention of an otherwise indifferent foreign media.

Hundreds of young Taiwanese raided the legislature on the evening of March 18 following a sudden announcement the previous day by Chang Ching-chung, a legislator from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), that the controversial Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) had been “fully reviewed” and would now be put to a vote in the legislature, where the KMT was certain to prevail. Angered by the move — bickering among legislators had prevented the review from even starting — the activists, who had initiated a campaign warning of the pact’s potential harmful impact on Taiwanese society since its signing in Shanghai in June 2013, decided to escalate by launching the unprecedented occupation.

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here. (Photo by the author)

No comments: