For the first time in history, the Taiwan parliament was stormed by students protesting the cross-strait trade agreement service with China that, if ratified, would allow service-sector companies in Taiwan and China to set up branches and retail operations in each other’s territory.
At around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, several hundred protesters, most of them students, broke through a glass door and stormed past police to enter the legislature after the Chinese nationalist party, also known as the Kuomintang, announced that the trade agreement will not be furthered reviewed. The protesters have barricaded the doors with chairs and the police have tried entering several times, so far unsuccessfully.
Earlier that day, the agreement was scheduled to be scrutinized by the Internal Administration Committee. Due to a serious conflict between the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party, the meeting did not take place. In the afternoon, the Chair of committee, Kuomintang Legislator Chang Ching-chung, suddenly declared outside the podium that the agreement was now “passed to the Parliament for vote.”
This declaration was regarded by Democratic Progressive Party and civil groups as a violation to the Constitution and an aberration to the common practice in the Parliament.
The protesters are demanding the Kuomintang to uphold the promised clause-by-clause review of the trade pact, which was signed in June. The students fear that the trade pact will give China too much economic influence over Taiwan and that it will cost Taiwan tens of thousands of jobs.
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