Democracy and rights advocates yesterday urged the public to join them in a protest march in Taipei against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and ongoing trade in goods negotiations with China, with several activists saying they were going to Singapore to present a petition against the meeting to the Taipei Representative Office.
Members of the Economic Democracy Union, Taiwan Democracy Watch, Taiwan Association for Human Rights and other civic groups said that demonstrators would assemble at 2pm outside the Ministry of Economic Affairs building, march toward the Bureau of Foreign Trade and the Council of Agriculture before setting up camp for an evening political forum outside the Presidential Office Building. Action plays and games are planned in addition to speeches and the presentation of petitions.
“During the March 18th movement, we clearly called upon the government not to negotiate any new agreements before the passage of supervisory regulations [on agreements with China], but the Ma administration is planning to sign a trade in goods agreement and hold a Ma-Xi meeting, which we find unacceptable,” Economic Democracy Union convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
The March 18th — also known as Sunflower — movement saw crowds of protesters camp outside the Legislative Yuan against a service trade agreement with China for weeks after student activists occupied the legislative chamber.
Supervisory regulations aimed at increasing the transparency of cross-strait negotiations have remained stalled in the legislature.
Organizers said people participating in the demonstration are urged to bring signs stating “One China, One Taiwan,” as well as pots and ladles to bang, symbolizing the threat that the trade in goods agreement poses to food safety.
Four pro-independence activists said they would go to Singapore today to protest against the Ma-Xi meeting.
“Even though this action is very dangerous because of the heavy penalty for protesting in a totalitarian state, we are willing to face this risk, because there is no way we can accept Ma’s pursuit of his own and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) interests, while ignoring the Taiwanese people,” said Wang Hsiang (王翔), spokesman for Dreamdom (夢由藝文工作室), a student group which does pro bono design work for activists.
Two members of Dreamdom — Luo Yi (羅宜) and Yang Shang-en (楊尚恩) — as well as Democracy Tautin’s Wang Yun-hsiang (王雲祥) and Restoration of Taiwan Social Justice’s Wu Jui-yen (吳濬彥) are scheduled to catch an early morning flight to Singapore.
Democracy Tautin general coordinator June Lin (林倢) said activists would present a petition to the Taipei Representative Office in Singapore stating that Ma does not have the authority or legitimacy to represent Taiwan in a meeting with Xi.
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