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    Posted March 25, 2014 by

    On the Taiwanese protest: We are just against China? No.The main voice condemned the undemocratic operation of our ruling party

    Although anti-China sentiment does exist inevitably among the controversy over the trade pact agreement between Taiwan and China, the focus is a lot different than what the international newspapers portrayed. The protest in Taiwan is not really a protest against a trade pact with China, but fundamentally a protest against a breach of democracy by the ruling party whose political economic interest are more closely aligned with Chinese government/businesses.

    Some reports from English newspapers about the Taiwanese protest related to the undemocratic operation of the current government with the trade pact.

    One of the very first reports on the occupy movement.
    *This is not from newspapers. This is more like an online channels for posting news.

    NYT quoted leaders of the student protest movement.

    Times magazine has a report that gives the background of the China Taiwan relations.

    Guardian talked about the impact of trade deal with Taiwan and briefly described its potential impacts

    A more detailed paragraph on the evolution of the protest

    I don't have background in journalism but I do feel that most International news viewed the issue from a narrower and more stylized perspective (protesters violate the order, Taiwan against China.etc.) But they generally omitted the deeper political violence behind the signing of trade pact done by the current Taiwanese ruling party.

    Unlike what these international newspapers are portraying, the student protest did not seek to address the trade pact agreement, but to question fundamentally this breach of democracy by the ruling party whose interests, due to various reasons, are leaning more toward the Chinese government and businesses.

    To explain further I am making a claim that Taiwan did not sign the trade pact and the trade pact is not legally in effect; the ruling party forcibly deliver using its relatively larger political advantage and the lack of information transparency. The entire procedure is not done within the established legal framework of Taiwan.

    It was treated as a decree and verified as a decree and not as a formal trade agreement, which should go through a proper negotiation and review process. The government did a back room deal, did not send officials who even have an idea of what is at stake in terms of the related industries, did not inform the public about the details of the trade pact before negotiation ( it was announced after being "signed" ) , did not treat the trade pact with the legal procedure of reviewing ( the review is done in 30 seconds ), controlled media and stifled the opinions through political-business ties, and had used armed force to trample part of the student movement.

    Without means within the political system to avert this breach against our democracy by the ruling party, people resort to peaceful protest by occupying the parliament, led by students and encouraging professors across the whole island. This is where the news report usually focus on. The situation changed when the occupy movement spread to the chief executive branch. Police were sent with arm force to evacuate the students and the public, leading to many injuries and chaos.

    The reason why it is so crucial to make sure that any such trade pact goes through its proper procedure of negotiation and reviewing lies in the Taiwan China political conflicts, is the concept of soft power. While the U.S has promised protection for the democracy in Taiwan, the people in my country have long faced with a government that has strong intention to include, or annex, Taiwan, with past threats saying that it would not exclude the possibility of military action. We are faced with a political body notorious for human right issues, most notably for banning freedom of speech through internet control and brainwashing propaganda.

    The consequences with this trade pact could potentially affect the autonomy andnational security of Taiwan, besides the widely recognized economic impacts, since it would grant Chinese companies ability to invest in finance, banking, information, communication, publication, and even infrastructure sectors. Protection against monopolization or large penetration of Chinese industries because of the similarity in our official languages are weak. Furthermore,the government officials demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge about what is at stake for individual service subsectors when it comes to international competition. Given that the Chinese businesses are closely linked, controlled, and monitored by the Chinese government, worries about national security inevitably followed and escalated. The industries in Taiwan with its relatively small size could easily be penetrated by Chinese businesses, and this increased level of interdependency and penetration, without proper corresponding protection and preventative measures for privacy and personal information, could make crucial sectors such as media or internet servicessubject to the rules and regulations of the current Chinese government. It is like letting the Russia running T Mobile and AT&T in the U.S, with access to thousands of data and information.**

    This soft power, if used in an effective way, can easily erode the autonomy of Taiwan. Hence the Taiwanese protesters cannot tolerate the sketchy trade pact rushed through a pseudo review process in 30 seconds by the ruling party, and is announced and explained AFTER the negotiation.

    Again, one of the most important thing about this movement is that the protesters are calling for a re-negotiation process and development of proper legal framework regulating any China-Taiwan interactions and not just endorsing an "anti China" slogan.
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