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April 27, 2017

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There can still be surprises at the Legislative Yuan

There was a collective sigh of relief on Monday after representatives of the Sunflower student movement announced they will end their occupation of the Legislative Yuan Assembly Hall today. There are talks of a "glorious exit" for movement activists, discussions of legal responsibilities the leading protesters might face, the follow-up of the mainly student-led movement and its implications for Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations.

The scheduled end of the Legislature occupation at 6 p.m. today, however, might not proceed as smoothly as the activist representatives announced. The illegal yet widely accepted tactic of holding hostage a governmental building has blurred the boundary of what is acceptable in Taiwan's society and has created unpredictable consequences.

Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), one of the representatives of the movement, suggested Tuesday that the students might consider storming the Presidential Office if the Legislative Yuan passes the Cabinet version of a statute for the supervision of the handling of cross-strait pacts.

There are already vocal opponents against ending the occupation within the Sunflower movement. After the activists' announced their exit strategy on Monday, a self-proclaimed member of the occupation publicly decried the decision makers for engaging in backroom politics.

The leadership's remarkable decision to allow the disagreeing member's tirade at the televised event defused the crisis of division. The member ended his disapproving speech with an acknowledgement of the decision makers' hard work.

The tension with the hard-line faction of the activists, however, is not completely gone. In a protester-held YouTube live-streamed "Intestine Flower" forum (大腸花, a mockery of the Sunflower [太陽花] movement) outside the Legislative Yuan, protesters criticized the decision makers' "fascist" leadership and vowed not to leave the Legislature today.

April 11, 2014    goodluck@
Your article is abundant with wishful thinking from a staunchly pro-Ma point of view. Good luck with that in today's Taiwan!
April 13, 2014    fan^fan@
President Ma has failed to put an end to the determination and the strength of the students. The movement has succeeded in:

1. radically altering President Ma’s agenda
2. depriving the KMT in Taiwan and the Chinese Communist party of their self-attributed monopoly over the negotiation of agreements across the strait
3. awakening the public over the necessity to have a critical and powerful legislature
4. winning the support of a very significant portion of the population
5. imposing the principle of a clear and transparent mechanism of cross-strait negotiation, of Legislative steering of agreements, and if necessary of renegotiation before final ratification
6. reopening the complex question of Taiwan’s identity vis-a-vis China, a question that had been buried by a KMT that had turned sympathetic to China since its reconciliation with its decades-old enemy, the CCP, in 2005.

In addition, and even if it was not its aim, the movement has provoked a deep feud within the KMT, one that that had not been here since the Lee Teng-hui years, when the Taiwanese president was fighting against the non-mainstream conservative faction, especially between 1988-1990 and in 2000.
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