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June 26, 2017

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Premier criticizes Sunflower Movement protesters

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday criticized opposition parties for their continued boycott of the draft bill on Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZ) in the Legislature and lashed out at young adults who participated in the Sunflower Movement, saying that they only know how to blame others for their own failures.

Jiang made the remarks during a breakfast with Cabinet members and the board of directors and supervisors of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC, 中華民國工商協進會) at the Ambassador Hotel in Taipei.

The premier said Taiwan's economy has shown continued growth as a government indicator of business activity has been flashing a "green light" over the past three months and the nation's unemployment rate even fell below 4 percent.

Noting that the draft bill on FEPZs will play a key role in Taiwan's economic future, Jiang urged the opposition parties to reconsider the importance of the bill and stop considering the bill from a negative perspective.

During the breakfast at the hotel, Jiang shared his recent experiences of communicating with young entrepreneurs to the CNAIC board members, saying that he discovered these young entrepreneurs are different from those young adults who participated in the student-led demonstrations.

Jiang further explained that "I don't see them as having a lack of competitiveness like local media have described the young adults in Taiwan, and they don't complain about the government."

Jiang said apart from those who had been involved in the student-led protests in March, there are a lot of young adults who do not blame others for their failures and are willing to work hard and take risks for their future. "I see Taiwan's future and hope in them," Jiang said, adding that "it is the government's duty to assist these creative young adults in their career paths to fulfill their dreams."

Student Activists' Responses

Student activist Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) later yesterday responded to Jiang's remarks, saying that Jiang, as the country's premier, chose to criticize those who stood up against the government for their own rights and interests and "declared" that he would assist those who would not criticize the government.

Lin further said that the Ma Ying-jeou administration has given up communicating with the public and would only talk with those who obey its policies. He said this is not what a democratic government should do.

Student activist Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) also responded to Jiang's remarks via his Facebook page, urging the premier not to blame the protesters for his own failures.

Academia Sinica scholar Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), one of the leading figures in the Sunflower Movement, also commented on Jiang's remarks on his Facebook page. Huang said he does not know who Jiang was referring to, noting that, however, as far as he is aware, he only sees Ma and Jiang blaming others for their failures in leading the country.

(Related story on page 5)

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