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Students protesting trade in services pact mull boycott
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-24 03:29 PM
After police wielding batons and backed by water cannon removed protestors from the Executive Yuan in the early hours of Monday morning, representatives from Tsinghua University, National Chengchi University, National Taiwan University and many other schools gathered at the Legislative Yuan on Qingdao East Road to re-group. Shouting "The Constitution is in crisis, the people want to participate" and "Ma and Jiang cannot govern the country, a student boycott makes sense," the students presented another declaration of their goals and discussed their next move.

Yang Chun-hui, a student at National Tsing Hua University, noted that the protest stemmed from dissatisfaction with the government’s disregard of the demands of the peoples concerning the trade in services agreement with China. Student representatives released a joint statement setting out four points including support for an independent student boycott and adjustments in class curricula based on consultation between teachers and students. The declaration asked school officials to respect the autonomy of teachers and students acting in concert in the protest and refrain from calling for disciplinary action against those involved; It also asked the government not to abuse the power of the people by precipitating clashes between police and protestors that result in needless injuries; and called for the government to meet the demands of students by handing back the trade in services agreement.

NTU student council president Lee Hsin-wen added said that the entire spectrum of students support the idea of an independent boycott. She also called on police to halt their violent suppression of the protest. Tai Wei-shan, student president of the National Taiwan University Graduate School, condemned the government's resorting to violence and led students in chanting slogans supporting the movement’s goals.

NCCU Student Union vice president Chung Yi-ting also asked schools not to sanction teachers and students taking part in a boycott. She called for professors and students to support the protestors’ stance on the trade in services agreement and asked the government to return the trade agreement in accordance with procedural justice.

The NTU Students' Union also issued a condemnation of the violence and called for a student boycott. The students union noted that the Ma Administration has failed to address the demands of the people in the six days that have passed since the student protest erupted. The government has even resorted to turning batons and shields against unarmed and passive students. The union noted that this is the first time in two or three decades that tear gas and water cannon have been used against the people and called for the government to desist from using police violence, a clear overstepping of the duties of law enforcement agencies.

The NTU Student Union strongly condemned the police violence and called for an independent national student boycott to protest the behavior of law enforcement officials, It encouraged people to go to the Legislative Yuan to show their support for the protestors and called on the government to take responsibility for injuries and bloodshed among students and to apologize to students for ordering police to crack down on the protestors.

The NTU Student Union published information regarding a boycott on its website, including how to initiate a strike petition. The site said groups currently involved in the boycott movement include National Tsing Hua University, National Chengchi University, National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, Donghua University and National Cheng Kung University as well as the Departments of Sociology at NTU and National Sun Yat-sen University, the Policy Research Graduate School at Soochow University, and departments of applied science and technology at Chung-yuan, Chung-yang and Tainan Universities as well as other schools around the island .

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