The Taiwan High Court yesterday overturned a Taipei District Court ruling which found two Sunflower movement leaders guilty of violent conduct for clashes with police officers as they tried to enter a public hearing session at the Legislative Yuan on July 31, 2013, on a proposed trade pact with China.
The district court in August last year found academic Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) and student Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) guilty of obstructing an officer in the discharge of their duties.
Tsay was sentenced to 40 days in prison and fined NT$40,000 and Chen was sentenced to 20 days in prison and fined NT$20,000.
In its ruling, the High Court said the proposed cross-strait service trade agreement with China had involved important social and public affairs issues, and at the time, Tsay and Chen did not engage in excessive, violent means, nor did they obstruct police officers from carrying out their duties.
Yesterday’s ruling cannot be appealed.
The Sunflower movement refers to massive protests, largely by university students, that began in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on March 18, 2014, in which they voiced anger over the speed in which then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators were trying to get the legislature to review the proposed trade pact.
The protesters stormed the legislature and occupied its main chamber.
The occupation lasted until April 10, several days after then-legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) agreed that the trade agreement would not be reviewed before an oversight act was passed.
Despite political and public opposition, Ma signed the trade pact in June 2013, but it remained unratified by the legislature, which commenced a series of public hearing sessions and legislative committee meetings.
On July 31, 2013, Tsay and Chen led hundreds of students and other protesters as they tried to enter the legislature to take part in the “public” sessions, but they were met by police, who blocked them from entering the hearing.
Physical confrontations ensued, with protesters pushing and shoving against the police cordon.
The KMT legislative caucus said the session was only for legislators and invited experts and observers, and the internal rules did not permit “uninvited persons” to enter the hearing.
Tsay and Chen said they had invitations from Democratic Progressive Party legislators.
During his trial, Chen said the KMT was trying to ram through the trade pact.
“We wanted to join the hearing to express our viewpoints,” he said. “It was our right as citizens to do so, and to get to know what was going on.”
After learning of the High Court’s ruling, Tsay said: “Now I have one less judicial case against me, which is good news for my wife. My struggle against the government over the long run has brought much pressure to my family, and I feel bad for my wife and my family.”
VITAL INDUSTRY: A war in the Strait would be a catastrophe, as Taiwan ‘lies at the heart’ of the world’s semiconductor industry, the magazine’s report said The government yesterday welcomed international attention on Taiwan’s security, saying that China is to blame for threatening regional stability, after a report by The Economist called Taiwan “the most dangerous place on Earth.” The report is featured on the cover of the magazine’s latest issue, which depicts the nation as the epicenter of a US-China rivalry. The cover shows Taiwan in a radar display with dots crossing the Taiwan Strait accompanied by a Chinese flag and dots nearing the east coast with a US flag. The US maintains a “one China” policy, while maintaining relations with Taiwan, but such “strategic ambiguity is breaking
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and