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September 26, 2017

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Taiwan's young democracy still has a long road to travel

Nearly six months have passed this year, and Taiwan has already experienced numerous street activities that have shaken society in various ways. The Legislative Yuan, Ketagalan Boulevard and other streets of Taipei City have all become platforms for people who would like to express their opinions and stand for what they believe in. Groups of protesters fought against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and nuclear power plants while others took to the streets to support the police and the government.

It might seem like people know what they have been doing the past months, but when we look closer at the arguments and disputes displayed in those street movements, the truth slowly comes to light.

When the government carries out policy to attract international investors to come to Taiwan, especially Chinese ones, some people call it selling Taiwan out. When the investors leave Taiwan to put their money to work in other countries, some people blame the government for bringing about an economic downturn.

Protesters slammed the government for failing to shut down all the nuclear power plants, but also for hiking electricity prices. Students rushed into the Legislative Yuan and occupied parliament, vowing to protect Taiwan from the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement with their lives. Yet the government is facing delays in its planned voluntary military service system because enrolment rate among the youth is very low.

The truth is that most people in Taiwan hold double standards when it comes to the issues that they care about. They choose the part of the issue that supports their arguments and are then extremely vocal about it. When they are faced with opinions that challenge their arguments or ideas they attack these dissenting opinions in a bid to mute them.

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