Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-29 04:29 PM
Students have been holding the Legislature since March 18 in a protest against the government’s moves to pass the trade-in-services pact with China signed last June.
As promised earlier, Lin showed up around 10 a.m. and sat down outside with his eyes closed. He had said he would visit the occupiers every single day until they all left.
“The students need love, not encouragement, because they’ve already done so much better than all of us have,” he told reporters. The students have made a major contribution to the future of Taiwan’s democracy, so he wanted to visit them to show them his appreciation and love, he added.
Lin did not say whether he planned to enter the main assembly hall of the Legislature, where lawmakers usually make speeches and question government officials. He also refused to answer questions about his reported plans to set up a new political movement separate from the DPP he used to lead.
Because the Legislature was being held by the students, he said it was not the right place for him to be making comments about recent developments, including statements by President Ma Ying-jeou and by Premier Jiang Yi-huah, and the meeting they had with university presidents Friday evening.
Lin said everything he needed to say, he had already said in an earlier statement. He had praised the students for standing up against the Ma Administration’s neglect of public opinion and its attempts to interfere with the Legislative Yuan. He added that the way the authorities had tackled the students with batons and shields led people to doubt that they had been elected by a democratic procedure.
Lin’s statement said that it was natural the trade pact would have its supporters and opponents, but the government should not be allowed to turn back the trend of democratization by its brute use of force in the case.
“All the students want is respect for the majority and the resolution of a disputed policy by the most basic democratic procedure,” Lin’s statement said. He also encouraged friends and relatives to send cards to the students to show them warmth or attend their rallies.
After students entered the Executive Yuan on March 23, riot police used water cannons and batons to disperse them, inciting accusations of police brutality. Investigations and counteraccusations were still proceeding, with attorneys pledging their support for the students.
Lin chaired the DPP in 2000, when the opposition party gained power for the first time since its founding in 1986. Former Taipei City Mayor Chen Shui-bian was elected president, but Lin later left the chairmanship and gave up DPP membership altogether.
He has a long history of taking part in social movements, with especially the fight against nuclear energy holding his attention in recent years.