The first Sunflower movement students to visit the US following the takeover of the Legislative Yuan are telling Washington officials that they acted to defend Taiwan’s core values of democracy, sovereignty and justice.
The Legislative Yuan had been acting on trade agreements with no transparency and with low citizen participation, said Dennis Wei (魏揚), a sociology graduate student at National Tsing Hua University.
“The functioning of the Legislative Yuan had become totally useless,” he said.
“Legislators were not reflecting the will of the people, just the will of their party,” said Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬), another sociology graduate student at the university.
The two students — both directly involved in the Sunflower movement — were invited to Washington by the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) and were speaking at a press conference held in offices used by the National Democratic Party.
However, party officials stressed that they were not involved in the conference.
Wei and Huang are meeting with members of the US Congress, think tank officials and members of the US-Taiwan community.
Wei said that students occupied the legislature to ensure that Taiwan’s democracy was not sacrificed to facilitate the signing of free-trade agreements with other countries.
“We worry that if we sign this cross-strait service trade areement, it will affect our freedom of speech and security issues in our country,” Wei said.
“Taiwan needs to be more careful and more in touch with the people,” he said. “We cannot let the people feel that safety is taking second place.”
Huang said the movement had achieved its initial goals, which were not only to take over the Legislative Yuan, but to make large numbers of people more politically aware.
“We were able to write a new page in Taiwan’s democratic history,” she said.
Huang said that before this latest action, many people thought the younger generation did not care about politics and had become disillusioned by fighting between “the blue and the green” camps.
She said that when the Sunflower movement students first entered the Legislative Yuan, they did not believe they would actually be able to take over the chamber.
“We never felt that it would go so smoothly,” she said.
“Taiwan was disappointed with politics, the Legislative Yuan was malfunctioning,” she said. “But taking over the Legislative Yuan was never the most important goal, it was just the place we expressed our determination.”
Although the students were leaving the Legislative Yuan yesterday, the Sunflower movement would continue to flourish, she said.
“The time for our generation has come,” she said. “It is going to be tougher in the future, but now we know what we want to say and what we want to do.”
Asked how they would respond to US academics who say that an important part of democracy is abiding by the law, Wei said the occupation of the Legislative Yuan had probably been illegal, but that it was not counter to democratic values.
“If the government is against the will of the people, the people can rebel,” Wei said.
He acknowledged that many people were saying that the movement’s actions were irrational and illegal, but he said that efforts to resist and work within the system had failed.
“We will take legal responsibility for our actions; we will not avoid legal responsibility,” he said.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT: TSMC chairman Mark Liu said the firm is committed to local investment: a third in the north, a third in the center, a third in the south Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said that, based on its strategy of balancing capacity, it plans to make northern Taiwan its manufacturing hub for advanced technologies that go beyond 2 nanometers. “As the company is committed to investing in Taiwan, we try to deploy one-third [of our total production capacity] in the north and have one-third each in the center and south” of the nation, TSMC chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) told reporters on the sidelines of Semicon Taiwan’s Master Forum in Taipei. TSMC last year reached its goal of deploying capacity equally across those parts