Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Grassroots Alliance steps up campaign

SUNFLOWER ROOTS:‘No one gave a shit about them and their opinions, but a few years later, we witnessed their achievements,’ Lin Chia-hsing said of the Sunflower movement

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The newly established Grassroots Alliance yesterday stepped up its efforts to push for reforms of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), announcing that in the next few months it is to hold six seminars across the nation.

The alliance made the announcement in Taipei yesterday at its first seminar — held to expound on its reform ideas and founding principles, and to recruit members and voluntary workers.

Despite the cold weather, nearly 80 participants packed the small venue, which was offered to the alliance by a supporter free of charge.

“The KMT has evolved from a revolutionary party to one that is stable and conservative. When it comes to governing a nation, there is nothing wrong with being stable and conservative, but we believe it is time to make the KMT a revolutionary party once again,” former chief of the KMT’s Youth League and Grassroots Alliance founder Lin Chia-hsing (林家興) said.

During his sophomore year at National Chengchi University, Lin said he joined Sunflower movement leaders Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) and Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) to advocate causes the group believed in.

“At the time, no one gave a shit about them and their opinions, but a few years later, we witnessed their achievements,” Lin Chia-hsing said. “Why can we not walk into the public eye again now and do something that might be sneered at in the beginning, but will eventually be underpinned by our ideals?”

The alliance plans to hold six more seminars nationwide from this month through March to further disseminate their ideas and solicit opinions from people at the grassroots level.

Former KMT Youth League secretary-general and co-founder of the alliance Lee Zheng-hao (李正皓) said the results of the Jan. 16 legislative and presidential elections have set alarm bells ringing in the KMT and suggested the party should be more in tune with public opinion.

The KMT has never held a seminar or rally without providing participants free snacks and transportation, Lee said.

“Can the KMT not function or attract supporters without tour buses, free snacks or mobilization payments?” Lee asked, adding that if a group with scarce resources like the Grassroots Alliance is able to draw support solely through its ideals, the KMT could do the same.

However, some participants took issue with the alliance’s reform proposals.

What the KMT needs is not to be more in sync with mainstream public opinion, but rather to lead public opinion and put an end to the Democratic Progressive Party’s “brainwashing tactics,” one participant said.

Another said the alliance’s ideas are ambiguous, accusing it of merely trying to imitate other civic movements.

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