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June 24, 2017

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Ma misses opportunity to parley with protesters

Apparently, President Ma Ying-jeou still doesn't understand what triggered student activists' anger.

As the "occupy the Legislature" movement entered its sixth day, Ma finally held an international press conference on the matter at the Presidential Office yesterday morning. Unfortunately, Ma messed up the opportunity to have a "talk" with the protesters.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) squeezed through thousands of protesters around the Legislative Yuan on Saturday and attempted to talk with them. Jiang's microphone, which was handed to him by one of the student activists, was muted after he failed to promise the two demands raised by protesters: rejection of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and legislation for a draft Bill on Pacts between Taiwan and China — a draft bill to regulate the government's power to sign agreements with China.

Jiang failed to communicate with protesters in person. While hundreds of students are still occupying the Assembly Hall, Ma, as president of the Republic of China, should have used the international press conference as an opportunity to talk with the protesters.

Instead, Ma addressed his 15-minute speech to all Taiwanese and foreigners, saying that he acknowledges the students' passion, but they violated the law by occupying the Legislative Yuan. He asked "is that the democracy that we want?"

Ma said that as the president, he has to defend democracy and laws in accordance with the R.O.C. Constitution, stressing that without the law there won't be democracy.

That is very ironic, as it was Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) who broke the cross-caucus resolution last Monday and submitted the service trade pact to the Yuan Sitting, the straw that broke the camel's back and led to the demonstrations.

Ma defended Chang by saying that Chang was forced by circumstances, adding that he would not comment on things that happened at the Legislative Yuan out of respect for the Legislature's autonomy.

Ma's double standard in respecting the laws and democracy clearly will not convince people, especially those who have spent six days sitting in the Assembly Hall.

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