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Student leaders announce plan to withdraw
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-07 09:22 PM
Anti-service trade pact student group representatives announced plan Monday evening to put an end of the weeks-long occupation of the Legislature on April 10. The group also appealed to the people living in Taipei to gather at the Legislative Yuan 6 p.m. Thursday to greet the student protesters walking out of the chamber.

The student leader Chen Wei-ting stated at a press conference Monday that the seizure of the legislative chamber in protest of the cross-strait agreement on trade in services will come to the end Thursday. The end of the seizure, however, is not the end of the movement but the beginning of a nationwide grass-roots movement sowed and spread out by student protesters.

Another student leader Lin Fei-fan said that the movement has completed its short-term mission with a significant progress, adding that this student movement has accumulated sufficient momentum to transform into a nationwide movement. According to the group, the four major requests they made have reached substantial results, including to establish a supervisory law concerning cross-strait pacts, to pass that oversight law before reviewing the service trade pact with China, to convene a “civic constitutional meeting”, and “to reject the service trade pact with China.”

In response to student protesters’ withdrawal plan, President Ma Ying-jeou immediately welcomed the students' decision to leave the Legislature.

Chen Wei, spokesperson of anti-service trade student group—the Democracy Kuroshio—held a separate press conference early Monday, saying that his group will launch actions in various constituencies starting from this week by giving calls and speeches to pressure KMT legislators to respond to their demands including, “legislation before review, support the passing of a nongovernmental version of oversight regulations concerning cross-strait trade pacts.” Lin said at the same time that he hoped that everyone can carry on, calm down, and contemplate what these 21 days have changed and the next move.

Prior to the student group’s announcement, five permanent trustees of the Association of National Universities of Taiwan (ANUT), including presidents of National Taiwan University, Sun Yat-sen University, Chiao Tung University, Chung Hsing University, and Cheng Kung University, urged the students to end their protest soon and to return to school.

The turning point of this move is widely related to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s Sunday visit at the legislative chamber to greet the protesters and his statement saying that he guarantees not to mediate any cross-party negotiations concerning the trade-in-services agreement before a supervisory law concerning all cross-strait trade pacts is passed.

Calls for the demonstrators to quit parliament have been rising even among some of their sympathizers. Former presidential advisor Rex How Sunday joined calls to student-led demonstrators to end parliament occupation, saying now is the time to consider “making an honorable, successful shift to the bigger chamber of society instead of limiting themselves to just the chamber of the Legislative Yuan.” Also at a press conference earlier, the film director Ko Yi-cheng praised student protesters for successfully bringing public attention to the important issues.

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