Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Survey shows public favors students’ demands

By Lo Tien-ping and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Protesters outside the Legislative Yuan building in Taipei on Tuesday practice linking arms during a training session on nonviolent protest tactics.

Photo: Chen Yi-kuan, Taipei Times

About 80 percent of respondents to a recent poll expressed support for demands made by students protesting against the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement that the government conduct a review of the treaty after new laws are enacted to monitor cross-strait agreements.

The survey was conducted by the Chinese-language Liberty Times’ (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) polling center through a random telephone sampling of 1,087 Taiwanese aged 20 or above on Monday and Tuesday — shortly after the government’s forced eviction of protesters occupying the Executive Yuan building.

The occupation of the nation’s highest administrative organ followed the unprecedented ongoing seizure of the legislative chamber by a group of students, who have urged the government to institutionalize supervision of cross-strait agreements and conduct a clause-by-clause review of the cross-strait service trade agreement.

As the occupation of the legislature entered its ninth day yesterday, neither President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) nor Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) have given an unequivocal response to the demands.

When asked about their opinion on the demands, about 80 percent of the respondents said they supported them, compared with 9.94 percent who opposed them.

When asked if the Ma administration should abrogate and renegotiate the trade agreement, about 75 percent of those polled were in favor of the idea, while 15.82 percent disapproved and 9.2 percent said they had no opinion.

Meanwhile, about 70 percent of the respondents expressed support for the student-led protests against the trade agreement, which has been called a “backroom deal” between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and China’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) due to the Ma administration’s failure to communicate with concerned industries before the treaty was signed on June 21 last year.

Only 20 percent of those polled were not supportive of what has been dubbed the “Sunflower Student Movement,” while 9.2 percent declined to express an opinion.

Asked about their feelings on the government’s forcible eviction of protesters who broke into the Executive Yuan building on Sunday night, approximately 53 percent of the respondents said the police had clearly overstepped their boundaries, compared with 34 percent who said the police handled the situation “properly” and about 13 percent who do not have an opinion.

The riot police resorted to force and water cannons to disperse the protesters, which led to violent clashes and bloodshed, with about 110 people injured.

The poll has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.97 percentage points.

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