Sat, Mar 29, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Sunflower leader’s secret meeting with official causes furor

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

A reported private meeting between a Presidential Office official and a member of the Sunflower student movement’s leadership on Wednesday has drawn criticism that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is attempting to create disunity in the movement.

A report published by Storm Media, a news Web site, yesterday said Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), an assistant research fellow at Academia Sinica, had met with Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑) on Wednesday at a coffee shop in downtown Taipei, a meeting set up by a member of the media with whom both are acquainted.

Both claimed that they did not represent any organization in the 30-minute meeting which aimed to improve bilateral communication and understanding, and they agreed to keep the meeting private, the report said.

After the news was leaked to the media, Huang posted a statement on Facebook in which he confirmed the meeting with Hsiao.

Huang said he reiterated that the movement was not related to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and that the administration should stop its smear campaign.

Huang also warned Ma against misreading the situation and trying to wear the students down by using a stalling strategy, because the students would not back down until their demand — that the cross-strait service trade agreement should not be reviewed before the establishment of a legislative monitoring mechanism — had been accepted.

Third, he said, the students demanded that Ma apologize for the bloody crackdown on Monday on thousands of protesters at the Executive Yuan compound.

The private meeting caused controversy because Huang did not inform the other leaders of the student movement, Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), about it, which was why it was interpreted as a betrayal of the students and a “black-box meeting” when the report was published online.

Students also questioned Hsiao’s motive — despite his claim that he met Huang in a personal capacity — and who had leaked the story.

Sherry Lee (李雪莉), the journalist who helped organize the meeting and who also attended it, said an official at the Presidential Office, who is known to be a “serial offender,” could have leaked the story.

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