Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Legislative review descends into chaos

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Legislators from the ruling and opposition parties quarrel as they sign up for the review of the cross-strait service trade agreement at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

Not a single article in the cross-strait service trade agreement was reviewed on the first day of the legislative review of the pact yesterday, as the meeting was marked by chaos, conflict and a standoff between the pan-green and the pan-blue camps.

Although the meeting was scheduled to begin at 9am yesterday morning, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators had camped out in the meeting room since Tuesday night, hoping to speak early in the review.

The first wave of clashes broke out at about 8am when clerks calling out legislators’ names on a sign-up sheet called DPP Legislator Ho Hsin-chun’s (何欣純) name, but Ho did not reply. DPP legislators Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) got into a fight — first verbally and later physically — with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) over whether Ho should be skipped.

At the same time, KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) and DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) jumped onto a table and began a verbal conflict.

Amid the chaos, KMT Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) took the sign-up sheet and walked out of the meeting room. DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) ran after him, stopping him in front of an elevator.

As the two pushed and shoved, Chang threw a bag with the sheet inside toward KMT Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏), but it landed on the head of a TV reporter.

Before anyone could work out what was happening, the bag was taken away by an unknown person.

“KMT legislators, please bring back the sign-up sheet, this is not how you should boycott a meeting in a democracy,” DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said.

KMT legislators Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) and Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞) accused DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), who presided over the meeting, of allowing DPP lawmakers to sign up to speak before announcing the start of the meeting. Chen Chi-mai denied the accusation.

Since the meeting could not proceed without the sign-up sheet, the two camps remained in a standoff, randomly yelling at each other using loudspeakers, until the lunch break was called at noon.

The situation did not improve when the meeting resumed at 2:36pm.

“I hereby announce that the meeting has resumed and I would like to invite Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi [王郁琦] to deliver his presentation,” Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.

However, KMT legislators insisted that Chen Chi-mai should first apologize for what occurred in the morning.

Unable to proceed with the meeting, Chen Chi-mai called for an adjournment, but KMT lawmakers ran to the podium and tried to take the microphones to prevent DPP legislators from speaking. DPP lawmakers resisted, and the two sides again engaged in physical and verbal conflicts.

The chaos continued until 5:30pm, when Chen Chi-mai declared that the meeting had been adjourned.

“I hereby announce that the meeting is adjourned for the day and will continue tomorrow,” Chen Chi-mai said. “I would like to ask KMT lawmakers to bring back the sign-up sheet, otherwise I may consider filing a charge of illegally seizing public property with police.”

The DPP caucus said that it would stay in the meeting room overnight.

Chen Chi-mai has scheduled another meeting for today to review the pact.

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