Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 3 News List

SUNFLOWER ANNIVERSARY: Facebook lights up with reflections on movement’s impact

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff writer

Protesters wave their mobile phones outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei after the Sunflower movement occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber ended on April 10 last year.

Photo: AFP

Several public figures yesterday took to Facebook to comment on the first anniversary of the Sunflower movement, affirming the movement’s achievement in upholding democracy and challenging the existing political structure.

“The movement originated in public discontent with the manipulated cross-strait relations at the hands of Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and Chinese Communist Party, and domestically, with [issues of] the nation’s economy, politics, democracy, social equality and intergenerational justice,” Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party said in a post about the rallies from March 18 to April 10 last year protesting the central government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade pact.

“The Sunflower movement not only held back the cross-strait service pact, but unseated those who benefited from the dwanguo (黨國, party-state) system in last year’s elections — the largest local elections the nation has ever had,” he added. “The movement bears witness to young Taiwanese’s undaunted determination to defend democracy and social justice.”

“The 318 student movement was a historic awakening of the public consciousness, which greatly influenced my election,” independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) wrote, referring to his victory in the nine-in-one elections last year that also saw a landslide against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

“It was a movement in which the people of Taiwan, especially the younger generations, began to pay attention to what was going on around them and care about politics, ” Ko said.

Award-winning writer Neil Peng (馮光遠) wrote that “the movement overturned Taiwan’s politics, and young people’s active participation converted into the electoral achievement in last year’s elections.”

“I would like to say a ‘thank you’ to all those young people who are fighting for Taiwan’s future and dignity,” he said.

Chou Wei-hang (周偉航), a Fu Jen Catholic University assistant professor known online as Ninjia Text (人渣文本), said that judging the movement by its goal of withholding the cross-strait service agreement, “the movement was successful, as the agreement has not yet come into effect.”

“I have observed an overhaul in the ethical structure in Taiwanese society over the past year,” he added, citing instances in which more citizens are challenging power structures in pursuit of social justice.

Taiwan Solidarity Union secretary-general Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) asked whether the nation should celebrate Youth Day on March 29 — an official holiday commemorating revolutionaries who died in the Second Guangzhou Uprising against the Qing Dynasty in 1911 — or on March 18.

Netizens overwhelmingly responded in favor of rescheduling of the holiday, saying: “318 should be Taiwan’s Youth Day” and “329 has nothing to do with Taiwan.”

Additional reporting by Abraham Gerber and Hung Jui-ching

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