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DPP: Global media overwhelmingly support CSSTA protest
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-31 03:21 PM
Liu Shih-chung, the Director of the International Affairs Department of the DPP, noted Monday that coverage of the Sunflower Movement and Sunday’s mass demonstration in international media has been overwhelmingly favorable to the student protesters.

Liu added that in the US Congress, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio publicly appealed to the Ma government to make a greater effort to communicate with the people of Taiwan. Also, Congressman Ed Royce of California warned the Taiwan government cannot pursue a strategy of relying solely on one nation to prop up the island’s sagging economy, saying that instead it should be hustling to diversify its trading partners. Royce has been an avid supporter of Taiwan's bid to gain entry to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Taking a look at international mainstream media, Liu pointed out that the UK’s Economist weekly has published several pieces recently questioning the Ma government's ability to handle political and economic crises, including "On the Antlers of a Dilemma” and “Ma the Bumbler." These articles indicate that Ma’s cross-strait dreams are moving steadily in the opposite direction of reality and note that his support among the people has plunged to historical lows. As a result, says writers, the student protesters who occupied the Legislative Yuan on March 18 have found sympathetic ears all across the island.

The Financial Times, also published in London, stressed that the huge turnout in Sunday’s protests shows that the people of Taiwan are deeply dissatisfied with the Ma administration’s handling of relations with China. It notes that many are worried that hastily-executed agreements with China could pose a serious threat to Taiwan's democracy, pointing out that polls show that more than 90% of Taiwanese reject the idea of unification with China.

Liu also touched on the write-ups in several other international media. The BBC remarked on the success of the Taiwanese student movement in promoting peace and non-violent protest, pointing out that the demonstrators’ peaceful actions checkmated the violence of state police action. The New York Times said people are worried that the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) could cause harm to local industries and lead to dramatic increases in the influence of Beijing on Taiwan. As a result the majority of people in Taiwan are opposed to the trade pact, but an even greater number are unhappy with the way the government has negotiated the agreement and attempted to ram it through the Legislative Yuan without adequate examination or discussion. Finally, the Associated Press called the student movement and Sunday’s demonstration the most serious challenge to Ma’s policy of moving the island closer to China economically.

Liu pointed out that some international organizations such as the Community of Asian Liberal Democracies (CALD) have issued statements expressing solidarity with the democratic movement in Taiwan. Bloggers in Taiwan and in a total of 49 cities in 17 different nations also offered strong support to the protesters and the leaders in the people’s movement.

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