Sunflower Movement is the largest student movement since the Wild Lily Movement in 1990. In 2014, from March 18 to April 10, hundred of student broke into the Taiwan Legistlative Yuan (equivalent to the US Capitol) while thousands joined in support outside the building.
This was a protest to the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) that was passed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While there are many reasons that this movement gained support, the outcome of this party gave rise to a new generation of Taiwanese youth that cared more about Taiwan.
In 2010, the People’s Republic of China (China) and Republic of China (Taiwan) government met and signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). Prior to the signing of this framework agreement, China has pressured other countries to not sign free trade agreements with Taiwan. The Taiwanese government was hoping this would ease up the pressure while enabling Taiwanese corporations to enjoy the benefits of more investment and business opportunities in China.
In 2014, the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement was set as a follow up treaty from ECFA. This would start to list out the areas in which the corporations from each side can invest and work in. While this agreement was set to be reviewed in September 2013, there were little to no progress to the agreement making it through the committee.
On March 17, 2014, wishing to move past the legislative gridlock, KMT legislator Chang Ching-Chung (張慶忠), took the mic and announced that the agreement was passed and will be submitted to a plenary session on March 21 for a final vote.
In September 2013, opposed to the CSSTA, students from number of notable university, including National Taiwan University and National ChengChi University, formed the Black Island Nation Youth Front (黑色島國青年陣線).
After hearing the proceeding of March 17, Black Island Nation Youth Front along with other university students gathered outside the Legislative Yuan to stage a protest against the CSSTA.
At 9pm, a number of student illegally entered the building and a total over more than 400 students staged an occupy movement inside the building. This led to a long night fight between the students and police forces trying to remove them.
As student occupied the Legislative Yuan, people gathered outside in support of the movement. Police forces were deployed to maintain security and to ensure no additional students entered the building.
- President Ma to issue an apology for “black box operation”
- Convene a “Citizens Constitutional Conference” for all parties and all
- The Executive Yuan must send back the CSSTA
- A bill to monitor cross-strait agreements must pass within the current legislative session
A march was to take place in front of the Presidential Office on March 30. While hundres of thousands of people gathered, overseas Taiwanese from all over the world also held marches on the same day.
Student agreed to leave the Legislative Yuan on April 10 after the government agreed to a proper hearing.
Making sure the CSSTA did not pass was the primary objective of the protest and it was achieved. Despite leaving the Legislative Yuan, student continued their activism in different aspects. Below are a couple of examples:
New Power Party