Several student groups are planning to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement with an event aimed at warning the government against another attempt to push through controversial bills during the Legislative Yuan’s current extra session.
The service trade agreement was signed in Shanghai on June 21 last year.
The deal had sparked strong objections even before the pact was signed and eventually led to a three-week occupation of the legislature’s main chamber earlier this year after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) tried to rush the pact through the review process.
The Black Island Nation Youth Front, which was established last year after the pact was signed, and the groups Democracy Dautin and the Democracy Kuroshio, which were set up this year, yesterday said they were planning an evening event outside the Legislative Yuan compound tomorrow evening.
They said they want to remind the government about the public’s voice.
Three disputed bills — the draft for the free economic pilot zones program, the bill for a cross-strait agreements oversight mechanism and the service trade agreement itself — are crammed into the final week of the three-week-long extra session, which suggests a possible bid to rush them through, Democracy Dautin member Wu Cheng (吳崢) said.
“Juxtaposing [the latter two bills] for a simultaneous review is in itself in violation of what the public has been demanding, which is to first institute an oversight mechanism before reviewing any cross-strait agreements, including the service trade pact,” Wu said.
Dennis Wei (魏揚), from the Black Island Nation Youth Front, said that the KMT tried to railroad the service trade pact through during an extra legislative extra session in July last year.
He then paraphrased a Karl Marx quote when Marx was amending a quotation by G.W.F. Hegel.
“Marx wrote that ‘great world-historical facts and personages occur’ twice; ‘the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.’ Although [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is not a great personage, nor is ramming through the bills anything close to a great event, the attempts to force through the pact last year and this year are both tragedies and farces,” Wei said.
Democracy Dautin convener Lee Chun-ta (李俊達) said that from the service trade pact to the free economic pilot zones, “all of what we see in Ma’s economic policies is deregulation, without providing protection for labor and the environment.”
The Ma administration is only interested in GDP growth, ignoring the people’s livelihood and the failure of its economic policies, Lee said.
The public should closely follow the legislature’s action over the next two weeks to see how the bills are handled, Lee said.
“We will continue monitoring the extra session and will take action if necessary during this period to keep those bills at bay,” Democracy Kuroshio representative Hsu Yung (徐雍) said.
The KMT’s caucus whip said it would be almost impossible to finish reviewing the bills in this extra session, “so it is a mystery why the bills needed be placed on the extra session agenda” to begin with, Wei said.
“Nobody knows whether they [the KMT] will launch a surprise attack. The event on Saturday is to maintain the dynamics and exert pressure on it,” he said.
The event is to run from 6pm to 10pm and will not run into the next day, the organizers said.