“We [Aborigines] have had a history of hard times. Our languages are lost, and our cultures and identities threatened. The influx of Chinese capital would further obliterate Aboriginal culture. Aborigines’ oneness with the land would also be challenged,” she said.
Various services are also being provided at the site.
Volunteers reach out to the people asking: “Anyone need throat-soothing drops? Rice dumplings?”
While some carrying large plastic bags walk around collecting garbage.
Stalls have water, sleeping bags, blankets and batteries, among the things that are available and there are different bins for the different types of garbage.
A 19-yer-old sophomore at a university in Chiayi City surnamed Huang said she was participating in the protest because of the way Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) took just 30 seconds to send the pact out of a legislative committee.
“That is not what I was taught about how democracy works,” she said.
“After I had been here for four days and talked to different people, I knew there were good reasons to question the trade pact economically,” Huang said.
A woman surnamed Chou (周), 27, said she was not against the trade pact, “because the company I work at does business in China.”
“Like me, many people I have spoken to here do not oppose Taiwan having trade agreements with China. However, it can’t be true that the trade pact brings only benefits to Taiwan. What are the disadvantages? We want to know,” she said as she held a placard that read: “Free shower available.”
Liu Yu-hsin (劉語欣), 25, who works in the architectural design industry, said she was worried the pact would lead to skyrocketing house prices, erosion of freedom of speech and China’s economic penetration of Taiwanse politics resulting from the opening of the service sector under the cross-strait service trade agreement.
“I am not opposed to the pact, but I hope that cross-strait relations can be advanced at a manageable pace with manageable risks,” she said.