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May 27, 2017

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Global media zero in on cross-strait pact protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Global media outlets have been following Taiwanese student activists closely after they took possession of the Legislative Yuan last Tuesday, many also spreading the news of the Executive Yuan break-ins and riot police eviction last Sunday.

Reports from CNN and the BBC began by relaying local news articles about the initially peaceful sit-ins held in front of the Legislative Yuan that broke into a student movement.

The Hong Kong-based Apple Daily was quick to keep tabs on the movement as well, releasing protest footage on its website and noting that it was college students that took action amid the controversy surrounding the pact.

Reuters released an article headed "Taiwan students occupy legislature over China trade deal," explaining that the students had launched the protests as they "feared (the pact) gives the mainland too much economic influence and access to opportunities," also noting that Taiwan and China have been building up economic ties in recent years after the two sides became separately ruled in 1949.

When President Ma Ying-jeou called for the students to retreat from the Legislative Yuan in his official response to their demands, French news agency L'Agence France Presse (AFP) and the New York Times wrote of the speech, with the latter telling of the students' escalated form of protest that spilled into the courtyard and offices of the Executive Yuan.

AFP reports were cited by Indian newspapers, the Deccan Herald and The Asian Age.

The BBC followed the clashes between protesters and riot police closely, saying that the police had used a water cannon on the protesters and dragged out students one by one, clearing the building by dawn on Monday.

The violence of the eviction, including students being clubbed and later arrested, was also covered by the Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, which stated that the protesters are opposed to further opening of Taiwan's economy to mainland China, and that thousands of riot police stood ready at the Executive Yuan, later arresting at least 60 people.

Protesters Controlled: China Media

Chinese newspaper the Global Times (環球時報) wrote that the students were obviously controlled by others and ordered to execute said measures, and that the incidents were "Taiwan's typical anti-China drama." The paper also cited Ma as saying that "whenever things are related to China in Taiwan, they go awry."

"The occupation of the Legislature is completely irrational and is an exploitation of populism," the Times concluded.

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