Politicians from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the New Party gathered yesterday at an event in Taipei where they lashed out at the student-led Sunflower movement, which had protested the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
Former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) called the Sunflower movement a “coup d’etat,” saying that something characterized by riots and violence “did not deserve to be called a student movement.”
The Sunflower movement cannot be compared to the May 4th movement, when thousands of Chinese students protested on May 4, 1919, against the Treaty of Versailles’ acknowledgement of Japan’s territorial claims in China, Hau said.
Taiwan has built up its democracy over 60 years, but the Sunflower movement now has it damaged beyond repair, Hau said.
New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) said that the way the students had behaved in leading the Sunflower movement was an “act of betrayal.”
Condemnation against the protesters is not enough, Yok said, adding that he demanded that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and law enforcement authorities look into their legal responsibility in accordance with the law and “never treat them with leniency.”
KMT Deputy Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said he represented Ma — who serves as chairman of the party — at the event yesterday, which was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the New Revolutionary Alliance (新同盟會).
Tseng said that the KMT had received many complaints condemning those who occupied the legislative chamber from March 18, stormed into the Executive Yuan complex on March 23 and besieged Taipei’s Zhongzheng First Police Precinct on April 11. The letters were also critical of the “irrational” hunger strike by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) against the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
It is easy to tell that opposition parties were behind the movements and that their aim was to “usurp” the government’s power, Tseng said.
The students and others who engaged in the civil disobedience movements deserved nothing but condemnation, he added.
Former Taipei EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡)chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), the KMT’s candidate for the upcoming Taipei mayoral election who also attended the event yesterday, said the spate of protests showed that “some people with ulterior motives” attributed the problems stifling Taiwan’s economic development to cross-strait relations and had managed to turn the dissatisfaction and frustration about the situation into forces that drove people to the streets.
“This is a new crisis facing the Republic of China,” Lien said.
Meanwhile, retired general Hsu Li-nong (許歷農), head of the New Revolutionary Alliance, called for Taiwan to sign an agreement with China that both sides of the Taiwan Strait be referred to as “China.”
The alliance, whose purpose is to push for unification, is planning to bring about the signing of the agreement, Hsu said.
In response, Sunflower movement leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said: “As is often the case with a democracy, student movements are a form of social movement.”
“Throughout Taiwan’s democratization against the KMT’s authoritarian rule, Hau has blocked progress, but now he is posturing as a paragon of democracy,” Lin said. “This is an insult to Taiwanese.”
“Hau has shown a total lack of understanding about democracy or people’s rights to freedom of expression,” Lin said. “It reflects his antidemocratic, military character.”
Additional reporting by Chen Yen-ting
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