Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunflower Movement

The Sunflower Movement occurred from March 1 8 to April 1 0, 201 4 after the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) was unilaterally approved by the KMT government. Taiwanese students and other civic groups protested against the CSSTA, raising concerns of closed-door negotiations and “the passing of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) by the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) at the legislature without a clause-by-clause review” (Cole, 2014). With the KMT holding a majority in the legislature (65 out of the 11 3 seats), the agreement was approved regardless of the voices amounting from the opposition. The CSSTA was seen as the controversial follow-up
agreement to ECFA which raised further concerns of the negative impact that economic integration could have on Taiwan’s economy as well as other concerns of freedom of speech and the compromised position of democracy on the island. Although issues of democratic governance,
accountability and public trust were at the forefront of the Sunflower protests, other observers also suggested that the CSSTA would also create several issues which would exacerbate the problems of rising unemployment and inequality and further risks of opening Taiwan to further economic dependence on China and its larger economy (Fan, 2014). As such, the issue of procedural democracy became a main concern and the relationship with China took an important secondary focus. The combination of academics, students and other civic organizations protested the hasty approval of the CSSTA which resulted in the eventual occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

KMT government’s quick passing of the CSSTA through the legislature without proper review

in response to legislators from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) expediting the review process of the controversial Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CCSTA) with
the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Many Taiwanese feared that the CSSTA, a follow up to the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010, might be detrimental to Taiwan’s economy and sovereignty

asking authorities to not only implement a monitoring mechanism to oversee future bilateral negotiations with China but also to meet them on their demands for the government’s transparency in negotiating with Beijing due to the undemocratic and under-the-table “black box” negotiations
which occurred (Cole, 201 4).

The movement did not finally end until Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-Pyng announced that the CSSTA would not be passed without a proper review and a proper regulatory mechanism that would
guarantee more transparency.

Kwan, J. P. (2016). The Rise of Civic Nationalism: Shifting Identities in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal 2(2), 941 -973.

Cole, J.M. (201 4, March 20). Taiwanese occupy legislature over China pact. The Diplomat. Retrieved from

Cole, J. M. (201 5, July 24). Taiwanese students occupy education ministry over
textbook controversy. The Diplomat. Retrieved from com/2015/07/taiwanesestudentsoccupyeducationministryovertextbookcontroversy>.

Fan, J. (201 4, April 1 8). The economics of the Cross-Strait Services Agreement.
The Diplomat. Retrieved from ons/2014/04/18taiwancrossstraitservicesagreementfan>.

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