Protests over the Cross-Strait trade pact have been widely reported by BBC, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Japan Economic Times, and Al Jazeera.
This ‘Sunflower Student Movement’ is protesting against the ‘black box processes' of the KMT government. The sit-in continued on March 21 with 40,000 people occupying in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
Students had hoped a response by noon of March 21 from President Ma Ying-jeou, but there was none. The students declared to the press that the protest will expand.
As the weekend is approaching, people in Southern Taiwan are organizing trips to join the protests in Taipei.
Zhang Haitao, netizen in Xinjiang: “I feel it is like the Beijing in 1989. These students are yearning for democracy and freedom of public opinion, and don’t want to see Taiwan's economy being hijacked by the mainland.”
BBC Chinese reported that the people in Taiwan have always had a deep-seated fear. Beijing authorities have attempted to annex Taiwan through it’s economy. With increasingly frequent and close cross-strait exchanges, fear and distrust has increased too.
Qin Yongmin, Wuhan human rights activist: “Taiwanese people are very worried about mainlaind China controlling and infiltrating the economics and politics of their country. This is not to mention the regression of their democracy.”
King Pu-tsung, Taiwan's chief representative to the US, will become Taiwan's National Security Council Secretary General on March 25. On his way back to Taiwan on March 20, he told media at the U.S. airport that American society will not tolerate ‘violent’ behavior like the Taiwanese students in the protest. It has now become a concern that the Taiwanese government will conduct forceful removal of protestors.
Wuhan human rights activist Qin Yongmin indicates that it is marks a sad moment for Taiwan. That is, the need to engage in protecting democracy in Taiwan in such manner, because of facing the threat from the Chinese Communist Party.
Qin Yongmin: “When a major policy violates public opinion, the people can rise up and express different opinions. Even if this is in the form of occupation of the Legislative Yuan, in order to express their demands. The people of Taiwan are clearly demonstrating their sense of maturity.”
Qin Yongmin expresses his admiration for the mature democratic consciousness of Taiwanese people.
Zhu Xinxin, a former editor of Hebei People's Radio Zhu warns, that the Chinese people have no freedom of speech. However, they have great hope for Taiwan’s progress in democracy. The CCP’s united front tactics are what the Taiwanese people ought to watch out for.
Zhu Xinxin, former editor of Hebei People's Radio: “We should be wary of politicians betraying the interests of Taiwan. We should be alert to infiltration and various controlling of Taiwan’s politics through economic and cultural means. Watch out for the cunning and evil CCP. Don’t hold onto any hope to interact with the Communist Party. Taiwan must hold on to its bottom line and insist on the basic principles.”
Netizens pointed out that the Taiwanese students’ occupying the Legislative Yuan was them questioning the trade agreement with the mainland. The students think that this process bypassed any democratic progress. However, the KMT government’s anxiety to quickly sign the agreement also reveals the wider international trend of appeasing the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP wants the world to willingly sacrifice their own resources, environment, and well-being’s of citizens. This is done in exchange for recognition of the CCP’s legitimacy.
Sun Wenguang, retired Professor from Shandong University: “Taiwan’s situation is in sharp contrast to China. Whoever openly demands Chinese officials to declare their property will be arrested. People deserve the freedom and rights to fully express themselves. The freedom of assembly and human rights were all written in the constitution.”
Taiwanese students’ occupying their governments building has attracted international attention.
A live video broadcast of the sit-in in the Legislature by Japanese video site Niconico Live has drawn more than 800,000 viewers. There are also homemade videos from Japanese netizens explaining the reason why the students are protesting.
Relevant keywords about the Trade Agreement have also become popular on the internet.
The Taiwanese student protest continues in the Legislative Yuan assembly hall, against the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement. The agreement, known to involve 64 service industries and thousands of businesses, will effect the livelihoods of nearly 3 million people. Is this trade a fair deal for Taiwan? A recent poll suggests 70% say no. Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang, or KMT, forcibly passed the Agreement at a congress meeting. It was done within 30 seconds of announcing the motion. This action triggered the student movement. How will the movement end? International media are watching.