Student activist leaders start 'Taiwan March' group
By Katherine Wei , The China Post
May 19, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
Student activist leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday announced their launch of a new citizen group that would push for reforms on the current referendum system.
Roughly a month after retreating from their occupation of the Legislative Yuan, the two activists and college politics professor Huang Guo-chung (黃國昌) decided that they would push to abolish the 50-percent voter mark in national referendums, a rule that calls for half the number of legitimate voters in the nation to vote for the same cause in a referendum for that cause to take effect.
The trio and the new group were not looking to become a new political party nor nominate any candidates for future political elections, said Chen in response to many guesses from local media outlets.
Named "Taiwan March (島國前進)," the group will be calling for changes in Taiwan's political scene through citizen movements; the first petition it has planned to launch was to scrap the "birdcage referendum" rule, which requires over 50 percent of voters to turn out. "(We) hope to push for the amendment of the Referendum Act and call for the government to 'return the rights to the people,'" said Lin.
The next task on Taiwan March's agenda is to keep tabs on the Legislature as it reviews the special draft bill for Taiwan's free economic pilot zones, the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and a supervisory law concerning cross-strait pacts, said Lin.
Lin and Chen had previously led the student and citizen movements in protest of the hasty passage of the services trade pact in March.
"The decision had been made after a month's discussions ... a lot of people thought ill of our decision and thought that we would be alone when we insisted on choosing this path. We had been hesitant and even thought we'd stop doing anything ... but our previous teammates have been holding workshops and training new group leaders after the protests ended, and they have been doing a good job," said Lin. "Frankly, we have been slow to take the next step compared to our teammates."
Lin also stressed that the media had focused too much on Chen and himself, saying that the reports had glossed over the efforts of many others who also deserved credit. Several movements that branched from the Sunflower Student Movement include a plan to impeach several Kuomintang (KMT) legislators, workshops for students and citizens interested in the nation's future and the planning of grassroots forums — all calling upon citizens to take matters into their own hands.
"All these people have contributed more than we did; for us, this new group may be our way to compensate for what we have not done during this time," said Lin.