Hundreds of students surprised the nation on Tuesday night when they broke off from an overnight sit-in and occupied the legislature in protest against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ handling of the cross-strait service trade pact.
After successfully fending off several evacuation attempts by the police and garnering national support over the past five days, the protest, which the media have dubbed the “Sunflower movement” — the largest student movement since the Wild Lily movement in 1990 that propelled legislative reform.
There are skeptics questioning almost everything about the group of young people — from their storming of the legislative compound and drinking beer in the legislative chamber, to their connections with opposition parties and their knowledge about the trade pact.
Photo: Hsieh Wen-hua, Taipei Times
In particular, there have been many questions about the cause and sustainability of the movement.
The students have been responding to these queries on an hourly basis.
In the legislature and the rallies outside the Legislative Yuan compound, students organized into groups to clean graffiti from the walls, recycle trash and maintain order.
Set up like a well-trained army unit, the students were divided into various teams of logistics, communication, patrol and — with help from volunteer physicians and lawyers — a medical team and a legal team were quickly assembled.
That was partly because the leaders of the movement, National Taiwan University graduate student Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and National Tsing Hua University student Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), as well as other members of the core leadership are seasoned veterans in social movements despite their youth.
They gained experience from numerous protests in the past two years, including the one against land seizures at Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) and the construction of the Miramar resort in Taitung County, the campaign against media monopolization and the anti-nuclear movement.
Well aware of the nation’s political situation, the students have distanced themselves from political parties and stayed away from the so-called “blue-green struggle.”
Quite contrary to what several local media outlets and the KMT portray, most of the students in those protests have been able to explain their cause clearly and stand firmly for what they believed in.
The “Sunflower movement” is more than an overnight phenomenon and should be interpreted beyond these young people’s discontent with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) governance.
It is the cultivation of the students’ effort in the past two years, during which they defied conventional views about the younger generation — that they could not care less about politics and the world they live in — and showed Taiwanese that they do care and they would take action to make the country a better place — any time and anywhere.
If today’s group of young activists have learned from what happened to the “Wild Lily generation,” some of them are more than likely to become the backbone of Taiwanese politics and social movements in the next 10 years.
From what people have seen so far, the new young activists show a deep caring for the nation and for the purity of politics as it was in the early 1990s.
UNCREWED CRAFT: A lack of domestic components and engine outsourcing show the need for Taiwan to develop a local drone supply chain, an analyst said The development of a fully domestic drone manufacturing supply chain is crucial to Taiwan’s ability to use the uncrewed aircraft effectively during wartime, a recent report from the Institute for National Defense and Security Research said. Ukraine’s experience in resisting Russia’s invasion demonstrated that civilian drones can provide valuable intelligence during wartime, but they must be manufactured domestically to ensure that foreign component makers cannot take control of the devices, the report said. In the report, institute researcher Chen Po-hung (陳柏宏) analyzed the security of Taiwan’s drone supply chain. Ukrainians have used civilian drones to locate Russian convoys and other targets, he said,
In the last few days before the local elections on Saturday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said it is focusing on 10 regions it considers highly contested areas, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it is stepping up campaigns across the nation. The DPP considers Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, and Maoli, Yilan, Nantou, Penghu, Changhua and Yunlin counties as areas where its candidates are facing fierce competition, a party source said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) plan to visit those areas again this week, the source said. The night before the elections,
Taipei is to end the YouBike 1.0 service on Dec. 3, with bicycles only from the YouBike 2.0 service to be available after that date, the Taipei City Government said on Friday. However, New Taipei City plans to keep the first-generation YouBike service until 2025. From Dec. 6, people who rent a YouBike 1.0 bicycle in New Taipei City and return it to a station in most Taipei districts would be charged a NT$350 handling fee, the Taipei Department of Transportation said. The handling fee is to be delayed until Dec. 9 in Taipei’s Nangang (南港) and Guandu (關渡) districts — both of
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking