TRADE PACT SIEGE: NTNU students’ painting supports protests

By Chen Yi-ching, Wu Po-hsuan and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - Page 3

A group of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) students yesterday put up a large painting featuring sunflowers at the main entrance of the school as a gesture of support for the ongoing student-led protests against the cross-strait service trade agreement that have been nicknamed the “Sunflower student movement.”

The students also formed the NTNU Student Anti-Service Trade Agreement Front and initiated a “democracy week” campaign, a two-day event where university faculty are invited to give lectures on the potential impacts of the trade pact.

The painting, measuring 4.5m by 2.8m, depicts a pair of hands safeguarding a cluster of glowing sunflowers in a shadow with the title: “The higher the flowers grow, the smaller the shadow will be.”

One of the painting’s creators, Department of Fine Arts student Chang Tseng-yi (張曾宜), said she stayed up all night watching news channels broadcasting images of the government’s forced eviction of student protesters who broke into the Executive Yuan in Taipei on Sunday night.

“I could not sleep or stop crying,” she said.

Chang said she and her classmates started taking turns creating the painting on Monday afternoon, adding that when they went out to buy paper at an art supplies store, the owner gave it to them for free after learning they were supporters of the student movement.

The painting drew the attention of several foreigners, who stopped to take photographs and listen to the students explaining the causes and purposes of the movement.

Meanwhile, Lu Shih-hsin (呂石新), a 85-year-old resident of New Taipei City’s Lujhou District (蘆洲), yesterday walked around the Legislative Yuan complex, bowing in gratitude to students participating in a sit-in against the trade pact.

“These students are the protectors of people from all walks of life. We should all show our gratitude to them,” he said.

Lu said he would join the sit-in were it not for his heart problems, and he said the government should repeal the trade agreement to stop Taiwan “from sinking.”

Some students responded to Lu’s gesture with hugs, while others were moved to tears.

A 20-year-old coed surnamed Chen (陳), who has been at the sit-in for four straight days, said the support of elderly people such as Lu “made the situation seem alright.”