Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) yesterday condemned what he termed the government’s heavy-handed dealings with protesters opposing the cross-strait service trade agreement, saying that the authorities have chosen “to stand on the side opposite to an entire generation of young people.”
Yang, who served as party spokesman from October last year until last month, made the comments in a Facebook post, denouncing what he said was police brutality against the thousands of protesters who occupied the Executive Yuan complex in Taipei on Sunday night to press their cause before being forcibly dispersed early Monday morning.
Yang said he watched a live broadcast of the activists being evicted “with an iron hand” online with his wife, Chen Yi-chen (陳以真), and their six-year-old daughter.
“I really didn’t know how to explain these images to my daughter,” he said. “When I saw police hitting the protesters with batons, I knew the authorities had opted to stand on the opposite side to an entire generation of young people.”
Whoever had the final say in the forceful clearing must take full responsibility for it, Yang added.
In 2007, when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was campaigning, he vowed to set up “a cross-party commission” to monitor the government’s cross-strait dealings and in the long term, “a joint commission” composed of opposition parties to oversee cross-strait negotiations, Yang said.
Ma had also pledged to improve communications between the ruling and opposition parties via democratic mechanisms to forge consensuses on issues related to national development when he ran for party chairman in 2009, Yang said.
“Partisanship makes it hard to achieve these goals, but it is not the case that Ma was never given the chance to try and do so. If he had done things in good faith and proceeded step-by-step over the past years, the disorder and bloody clashes gripping the nation now would not have happened,” Yang said. “Ma had the chance to lead Taiwan toward reconciliation and coexistence, but that opportunity is gone.”
Yang was the first person in the pan-blue camp to voice opposition to the clearing of the Executive Yuan compound.
KMT Legislator Lin Ming-chen (林明溱), whom the party has nominated as its candidate for the Nantou County commissioner elections later this year, disagreed with Yang, saying yesterday that the police handled the situation “properly, compared with South Korean police, who usually beat up protesters much more brutally.”
KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) commended Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) for deciding to deploy the police to end the occupation of the Executive Yuan building, saying that the students who occupied the Legislative Yuan for the eighth day yesterday should also be forcibly removed.