- Posted March 21, 2014 by
Taipei City, Taiwan
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protesters occupy Taiwan legislature
An On-Site Voice
by Taimocracy (2014.03.20)
On the afternoon of March 17th, the legislative chamber was a familiar mess. Pan-green (the opposite Democratic Progressive Party etc.) and pan-blue (the ruling KMT) legislators were virtually wrestling under clusters of camera flashlights, when the chairman of the Interior Committee, a KMT billionaire legislator, announced in a hidden corner through a hidden microphone that the review of the “cross-strait service-trade pact” was done, and that the pact would come into effect automatically.
It would have been yet another repetition of a uniform result in that specific chamber: the majority enjoying having the final say, the minority posing as heroic loser, and the media caricaturing democracy. The decades-old struggle would have once again been dismissed as a farce, and muffled by both pan-blue and international media.
Yet, the old plot finally had to derail. The next day, students protesting outside the legislative complex suddenly swarmed in, and for the first time in Taiwan’s history occupied the chamber.
Try as the foreign and domestic media may to smear these young people by relating them to DPP or condemning their lack of proper manners or whatever, while many of us have been hypnotized by the China-minded ROC government, these young activists are among the few single-minded defenders of Taiwan’s democracy. These “pampered” kids see straightforwardly what the world has pretended not to see:
They see the authoritarian arrogance of President and Chairperson of KMT Ma Ying-jeou in ordering KMT legislators, who always obey despite their seemingly harsh criticism against him, to illegally “legalize” the “cross-strait trade pact” on schedule. But does anyone know what the schedule is and who has set a schedule? These young activists believe it is a very bad idea for Ma to sabotage Taiwan’s hard-won democracy this way.
The brave young people also see the danger of municipal administration falling into the hands of mafias and tycoons, who manipulate major construction plans at the cost of citizens’ shelters and, in some cases, even people’s lives. On the first evening of the occupation of the legislative chamber, several young intruders, one of whom wielded a two-foot machete, came to violently intimidate the students, just before the appearance of an infamous pro-unification celebrity. The incident reaffirmed the students’ concerns about the underworld thriving under Ma’s rule.
In addition to seeing democracy ruined and a mafia thriving, our young people witness governmental hostility. Bullying in the army shocked the whole island last year. But the government’s abuse is not limited to violence and intimidation in the military. These days, the youthful demonstrators have experienced the authority’s hostility toward citizens that think differently. On entering the building, the students found that they were besieged by police and denied toilets and air-conditioning. Then, wireless Internet was interfered with, making it difficult for them to communicate with the outside world. These young activists were treated like enemies rather than citizens. But, does the Ma administration copy the response pattern of Beijing, Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc.?
And the outside world calls the ruling KMT party a strong advocate of democratic values?
The world needs to check Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points (January 8, 1918), the first point of which states: “Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
Unfortunately, Ma has a backroom style of decision-making. He works out domestic policies and international treaties with the advice of just a few confidants, never bothering to consult related government authorities or citizens. For him, democracy is more of a buzzword than a practice, and he probably feels more like an elected-emperor than a president of the people.
In order to maintain regional stability, cross-strait peace is imperative. However, in handling the interaction with China, it is extremely hazardous to disregard professional evaluations and warnings from governmental institutes, and being willfully ignorant of domestic industrial needs and public sentiments.
Ma’s domestic mal-administration has led to soaring prices in property and cost of living, a rising unemployment rate, and widespread mistrust of the government. As for cross-strait relationships, China is isolating Taiwan from the rest of the world step by step. Most inhabitants of Taiwan, not to mention scholars of China, believe that a political takeover will soon follow the economic unification.
And that is why the students are insisting that the legislature review the agreement clause by clause, list the withdrawal or suspension of the pact as alternative options, and renegotiate the pact if necessary. They have clearly sensed the possibility of their home country being ruined by selfish politicians and their parties.
Ma might still possess Permanent Residency of the US, as well as Citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) by birth under the British Nationality Act 1948. If that is the case, it can be easily understood why Ma may be overlooking the interests of Taiwan. With a president who might have lied about everything from pragmatic management of the country to his other nationalities, the worried students don’t have much choice.
So, let us criticize the politicians, blue or green, as we like, but leave those bold young people alone! They are color-free, the only hope of Taiwan’s future!