Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) should step down if he does not guarantee that the service trade agreement with China will not be validated until the legislature conducts a de facto review of it, civic groups said yesterday as they rallied outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday to protest the signing of the pact.
“The premier should publicly promise that he will not validate the pact until the Legislative Yuan reviews and approves it. If he does not promise this, or unilaterally validates the agreement, we call on lawmakers to dissolve the Cabinet and boycott it by all means possible,” Cross-Strait Agreements Watch convener Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
“This is an agreement that will have a huge impact on workers and yet the government not only declined to allow the public to participate in the decisionmaking process prior to the pact’s signing, it is now not allowing public involvement after the signing,” Lai said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The service agreement was signed by the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits on Friday last week.
Under the pact, Chinese capital and personnel will be allowed to enter some industries in Taiwan’s service sector and Taiwan will be granted to access to some Chinese industries.
The development has caused concern among many Taiwanese, who worry that Chinese capital may marginalize Taiwanese capital and that Chinese workers will take job opportunities from their local counterparts.
Though the content of the agreement was kept hidden from the public and the Legislative Yuan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-majority legislature is likely to approve it without going through the details.
Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) said that neither the government nor the service industry are fully prepared to meet the new challenges that they will face after the pact is implemented.
“The government should not validate the service trade pact without being fully prepared for its effects,” Son said. “We would especially like to protest the government’s plan to allow Chinese workers into Taiwan in such a rash and underprepared manner.”
Taiwan Rural Front researcher Hsu Po-jen (許博任) said that almost everyone would be affected by the new deal and urged the public to pay more attention to it.
“Running water, electricity, gas, education — everything that we thought would be protected by the government may become corporate-controlled,” Hsu said.
“Thinking beyond China, with the KMT and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) support for free trade and economic liberalization, not only Chinese capital, but also US, South Korean, or Japanese capital could be in control of our lives,” Hsu added.
“We have to shout our opposition to any kind of free trade that favors multinational corporations,” he added.
After Executive Yuan official Chang Hung-chun (張洪均) took the petition from the protesters — without making any comments — the demonstrators moved to the Legislative Yuan to meet with the Democratic Progressive Party, People First Party and Taiwan Solidarity caucuses to discuss further action in the legislature against the agreement.
Two lottery players recently won NT$1 million (US$31,822) prizes on scratch lotto tickets they purchased on the same day at the same store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area. Taiwan Lottery Co said that the lotto wins both happened on “20 million Super Red Envelope” (2,000萬超級紅包) scratch cards sold at a shop on Kunming Street on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday on Thursday last week. The first of the winners was a married couple, who first won NT$2,000 on a NT$300 scratch lotto card, and then used their winnings to buy a NT$2,000 Super Red Envelope. After noticing that there
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
National Taiwan University (NTU) was ranked in the 126-150 band in the Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2023 released on Tuesday, falling for a third consecutive year. In the 2020 rankings, NTU took the 40th spot, improving significantly from the 51-60 band the previous year in its best ranking in past five years, THE data showed. However, since then the university’s ranking has dropped continuously, falling into the 61-70 band in 2021 and the 91-100 band in 2022. The list does not assign specific rankings to universities ranked outside the top 50. In 2020, three other Taiwanese universities were also listed in