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Social movements can reflect the good and bad of Taiwan

A military green jacket is a necessity for people who love Taiwan. No matter where you stand on the “Sunflower Movement,” you should take a look at this military green jacket. Once you put it on, your mind clears up immediately and your speech becomes methodical. You will not hesitate to speak up in front of a crowd. An excellent jacket, a jacket that combines fashion and hot topics.

All of the above are lines from an Internet advertiser promoting a jacket on sale, a jacket similar to what Sunflower Movement leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) wore during the protest.

This is just one of the issues in Taiwanese society reflected in the Sunflower Movement: Taiwan gets too obsessed with one particular topic or object because people and the media constantly discuss it. When it happens, some people seize the opportunity to make a quick profit, from the egg tart sensation that resulted in countless egg tart stores shutting down to the yellow rubber duck sculpture that resulted in millions of yellow rubber duck-themed goods being sold nationwide. It sometimes seems like Taiwanese people never give up a chance to make money. However, with this tendency, the meaning behind the source of the trend sometimes gets twisted.

There are more revelations about Taiwanese society that can be discovered from the Sunflower Movement. One is that even though Taiwan is ruled by laws, most people value personal feelings and human interaction more. There are pros and cons to this national characteristic. Taiwan is known for being a friendly place because of this. However, when people were evicted from the Executive Yuan by the police after occupying it, many people focused on the violent actions of the police.

Discussions about whether or not the measures taken by the police to evict people from the Executive Yuan were appropriate and necessary, but it is also true that those people should not have rushed into the Executive Yuan and destroyed objects inside.

April 2, 2014    test@
I wondered whether the author has watched the news or not.
The things inside the Executive Yuan were not just destroyed by the students but also the police.
Besides, the reason why people focus on the violent actions of the police is that students (those who sat in front of the stairs) inside the Executive Yuan did nothing violently but sat there and chanted the slogan. However, the police first cleared the media staff inside the Executive Yuan and then started to brutally beat up the students who had no weapon. On seeing clip of that, you can't help but wonder that how come the police did some cruel thing like that to the unarmed students like that? Deep down our heart, we know that it is pretty suspicious when the police pushed the media staff out off the Executive Yuan.
April 2, 2014    andre@
A comparison of apples and eggs.
April 2, 2014    Marcochang0610@
Executive Yuan is inherently out of reach and off-limits to those unauthorized. What happened to the day was obviously property-trespassing, so police had every reason to dispatch the terrorists that held Executive Yuan hostage. Doing nothing violently does not grant you free-pass to places.
April 7, 2014    chengcc@
1. The demonstration/occupation is conducted under the guise of student movement for a true purpose of (a). rejecting Service Pact, (b). deposing MA, (c). enacting a new Constitution and (d). consequently establishing a new Taiwan republic.
2. These purposes have demonstrated the failure by the CCP's efforts to reconcile the mutual relations through amicable means.
3. Meanwhile, Taiwan is so eager to procure an identity by recognition from International community.
4. Taiwan has failed to see the good will of China to give Taiwan more room for international activities. China in fact in the past a few years has ceased the diplomatic fight with Taiwan.
5. With the purposes clearly stated in the point 1., China has lost her patience and faith on the effectiveness on so called AMICABLE MEANS.
6. It is an old Chinese philosophy that battle should be won without a drop of blood, may that be yours or enemy's.
8. China is initiating an action to PROVE TO TAIWAN THAT you have NO identity as a state. ALL EFFORT BY TAIWAN TO WIN RECOGNTION WILL BE MADE IN VAIN!!!
9. Within the same length of time, e.g. 21 days for the students' occupation, China will prove to Taiwan that China is the only power in this world to determine the status of Taiwan in the international arena.
10. NO MISSLES, NO BULLETS, NO BLOOD WILL BE WASTED ON THESE ACTIVITIES WITHIN 3 WEEKS (21 days).
11. Taiwan will suffer unbearable diplomatic fiasco by this student activity and will totally understand that there is no such thing as RECOGNITION available for Taiwan in the international community. China is the only master in this game.
12. Such diplomatic affairs are purely within Chinese domain, their domestic affairs, a matter truly between China and those foreign nations that Taiwan now is enjoying.
13. Again, such yoke is NOT made of wood, BUT IRON.. YOU CANNOT GET IT OFF!!! Thus says my Lord!!
14. This battle will be fought in a purely Chinese way WITH NO BLOOD SHED, and all Chinese say AMEN!!
April 8, 2014    test@
Clearly, you have missed my point.
I didn't say that the students who took over the Executive Yuan did the right thing. I also thought that that was an illegal action. However, that didn't mean that the police can do something brutal to the unarmed student. That didn't grant the police the legitimacy to cruelly beat up the students.
April 8, 2014    cia-yes@
What wound be the US government, the master of democracy, if US Senate were occupied by unauthorized persons, whether students or not? Can US government tolerate this action for the sake of democracy? I wish Mr. Obama could answer my question!
April 8, 2014    fuchina@
@chengcc

OH NO, PLEASE DON'T!! TAIWAN IS AFRAID NOW !!!
(HAHAHAHAHA!!!!)
April 9, 2014    Marcochang0610@
Police Brutality? We are taking about our parliament got taken by an enormous horde of reckless students. (Terrorists) What other ways to be used to send them other than using necessary force, since they all locked hands and arms together, daring the police to remove them.

Police didn't start using water cannon until it's near dawn, they were instructed to put the Yuan back to order by the morning so the people could go to work. Force was literally the last measure, nobody liked to see it occur, yet in the face of the mobs that insisted to abuse the rule and have their party going on, there was no way to go but go physical.

A video clip shows that some student even shouts at the police, saying "If you have balls, then shoot me in the face." Another one that shows one officer gets outnumbered and neck-strangled with a rope.

April 9, 2014    cia-no@
cia-yes,
What would be the US government, if openly operating gangsters can come and go as they please, assault police, and even get citizenship despite a serious criminal record?
April 9, 2014    vivihsh@
"Another one that shows one officer gets outnumbered and neck-strangled with a rope"

Marcochang, surely you must mix up the students' non-violent protests with that S&M video you were watching?
April 9, 2014    factualormyth@
This CP- comments section is like Weibo: all messages are generated by just 5% of users, of which 4% commies.
April 9, 2014    chugglui@
The Taiwan local government ignored social groups and retaliated with police shields, intimidation, and in incommensurate fashion, the courts.

Land was seized by the Goumintang government, homes were demolished, the environment was damaged, elderly laid-off factory workers were sued, ordinary citizens were beaten by police or private security firms, Aboriginal land was stolen, historical buildings were threatened with destruction, soldiers were abused to death, the gap between rich and poor widened, men and women died under mysterious circumstances and the autopsies were never made public, while corrupt individuals or wanted criminals were seemingly untouchable (including Chinese officials who broke the law while visiting Taiwan).

Hence, the rush to approve the latest trade agreement - albeit beneficial to Taiwan - seems to be the final straw that broke the camel's back. Political wisdom is needed here, or Taiwan will never be reunited with the Mainland. Right now, such foresight seems equally far off - either in real politics, or judging by the handful of recurrent senseless messages here.
April 9, 2014    thought@
To understand the ugly world, you must engage it when you're young.
April 11, 2014    eddy@
test@ wrote:
I wondered whether the author has watched the news or not.
The things inside the Executive Yuan were not just destroyed by the students but also the police.
Besides, the reason why people focus on the violent actions of the police is that students (those who sat in front of the stairs) inside the Executive Yuan did nothing violently but sat there and chanted the slogan. However, the police first cleared the media staff inside the Executive Yuan and then started to brutally beat up the students who had no weapon. On seeing clip of that, you can't help but wonder that how come the police did some cruel thing like that to the unarmed students like that? Deep down our heart, we know that it is pretty suspicious when the police pushed the media staff out off the Executive Yuan.
Congratulations. You miss the whole point of this editorial right off the bat and go straight towards proving the author's point.
April 13, 2014    fanghy@
One of the amazing dimensions of the Sunflower movement lays in the asymmetry of conventional political forces.

Against a rich and hegemonic political party, which never lost power since 1945 (except the presidency of the Republic between 2000 and 2008, though it maintained a legislative majority), a student movement rose, and did so without the support of opposition parties.

Its financial means were very limited, and it grew strong through organization and donations, hundreds of volunteers’ countless hours of work, intense social media use and immense sacrifices by many people who demonstrated astonishing energy.

The KMT, and President Ma especially, controls most of the power “inside the system” (體制內), yet he appears to have little understanding, or at least little control, of what is outside it (體制外): the young, connected, disillusioned generation of Taiwanese that has re-politicized itself through a series of protests over various issues during Ma’s six years in office.
April 18, 2014    zha4zha@
In the mainland they will just have the tanks roll over the students; they will hurriedly bury the train crash; they will pretend the smog is anti-US missile/laser countermeasures. If things on the mainland get really bad the CCP will instruct their wumao to start talking about Japan and Nanking 70 years ago, much like Ma is doing now concerning 'comfort women'.

The mainland is smart not to let Facebook into the country. Otherwise ordinary Chinese will lynch the CCP, and China will end up like a giant Taiwan.

We love Taiwan.
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