Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Legislature to tackle trade pact and referendum

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff reporters

Outside the legislature, civic groups continued their protests over the service trade pact with China early yesterday morning and briefly clashed with police when they entered the legislative compound.

Setting up tents and camping outside the legislature’s front gate, the groups vowed to monitor the lawmakers during the extra session.

About 100 protesters, led by Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), occupied the legislature’s front plaza at about 5:30am.

However, police reinforcements arrived and the protesters were removed by 8am. Some were injured during the clash with police. They retreated to their camp after another attempt to enter the legislature at 9:45am failed.

“Our goal is to stop the KMT caucus from placing the agreement directly to a second reading. We want to make sure that the pact would be screened and voted on clause-by-clause,” said Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津), president of the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP). “We are not going away without achieving this goal.”

The groups, including the TAUP, the Taiwan Nation Alliance, the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign, the Taiwan Democracy Watch (TDW) and the Cross-strait Agreement Watch, formed the “Democratic Front of Anti-opaque service trade agreement” on Sunday night to coordinate efforts to oppose the pact.

In a statement, the alliance reiterated its opposition to the agreement and the “fair trade myth,” which it said could harm local job opportunities. It also demanded the exclusion of Chinese investment in sensitive industries, passage of a media anti-monopolization law and a reassessment of Taiwan’s trade liberalization policy.

Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-lien (孫友聯) and the TDW panned President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “five noes” and “10 growing strengths” slogan to promote the trade pact.

The so-called “growing strengths” would only benefit business owners and large corporations, and harm millions of workers, the TDW said.

Son said Ma’s five noes, which promise that Chinese workers and investors will not be allowed into Taiwan and that the taxi, Chinese herbal retail and publishing sectors will not be liberalized, reveal only part of the truth behind the pact.

“If you read the agreement carefully, the five noes are meaningless because there are too many loopholes,” he said.

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