An online petition protesting against the government’s rush to implement the cross-strait service trade agreement is picking up steam, with support from academics and leading figures from the arts and cultural sector.
The petition was launched on Tuesday by 18 artists, academics and representatives from the publishing and media sectors who issued a joint statement calling on the government to reopen negotiations on the pact signed in June. As of yesterday afternoon it had attracted more than 12,000 signatures and endorsements from 63 organizations.
The statement also demands the Legislative Yuan hold individual public hearings on every service sub-sector covered by the pact and postpone a review of, or voting on, the agreement until the government has released reports evaluating its impact on Taiwan’s society, national security and service industry.
The government should recommence negotiations with China on the basis of the results of the legislature’s item-by-item review, the statement said.
In a blog posting, award-winning screenwriter and author Neil Peng (馮光遠), one of the campaign initiators, urged more people to sign up.
“If Taiwan is to follow the script as penned by [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and [close Ma aide and representative to the US] King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), then Taiwan’s democracy and its accomplishments will be burned up and turned into ashes. If that happens, people should not complain or feel disappointed [if they do not take action],” Peng wrote.
Liang Wen-tao (梁文韜), a political science professor at National Cheng Kung University, posted a message on his Facebook page promoting the cause.
“Do not miss out on this campaign, we call on everyone to join in,” he wrote.
Several National Taiwan University professors are among the petition’s initiators.
They include Shieh Ming-yan (謝銘洋), dean of the Faculty of Law, Chen Juo-shui (陳弱水), dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Hung Chen-ling (洪貞玲), head of the Graduate Institute of Journalism and Chang Chin-hwa (張錦華), a journalism professor.
A number of distinguished researchers at Academia Sinica have also signed the petition, including Liaw Yun-fan (廖運範), Cheng Tai-ann (鄭泰安), Lin Jih-wen (林繼文), Wu Jui-jen (吳叡人) and Su Yen-tu (蘇彥圖).
Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜), chairwoman of the Association of Taiwan Journalists, said many academics and prominent business leaders, such as Locus Publishing Co chairman Rex How (郝明義), have spoken out against the agreement.
“Yet Ma and his government officials remain indifferent to these voices and have even tried to vilify them. We have received more than 10,000 signatures in just a few days. This shows people are fed up with the government’s stance,” she said.
Additional reporting by CNA