The following statement was released on March 17th, beginning the “120 Hours To Protect Democracy” (捍衛民主120小時) action which eventually precipitated the Legislative Yuan occupation. The original Chinese language text can be seen here.
The service trade agreement will sacrifice the rights and interests of the majority of people in Taiwan. Under pressure from President Ma to push through the CSSTA, Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), Chang Ching-Chung (張慶忠), and other KMT legislators planned to announce the end of legislative discussion of the CSSTA between March 17th and 21st, or that the bill would pass it second reading and the task at hand would be completed. Public polling shows that 73.7% of the people support a line by line discussion of the CSSTA, but the Ma government still unceasingly lies boldly, wanting to pass the CSSTA through the legislature without democratic process and directly including forceful voting and etc. Presently, the KMT members of the Legislative Yuan have allowed the institution of the Legislative Yuan to sink to the level of a rubber stamp for executive power, arrogating power to the Ma administration, and damaging Taiwan’s democratic system, for the benefit of a minority of commercial and government interests.
We have to no way to take it sitting for a minority of politicians and wealthy individuals decide Taiwan’s future. The contents of the CSSTA have a very real effect on the work, existence, and dignity of the 23 million people of Taiwan, and the need for oversight is very necessary to maintain the system of checks and balances in Taiwan’s legislature.
Our stance that the CSSTA must be “Agreed to by the Legislature, with democratic oversight” draws on an international standard. Whether America, Europe, or South Korea, this is present for the sake of democratic oversight process. South Korea requires democratic oversight before the request for a trade agreement, in the process of negotiating the agreement, and after negotiations are complete and in this way is a system which requires even more legislative participation.
But the Ma government send the CSSTA to legislature, conveying fake knowledge, threatening the people, and claiming that the “passing the CSSTA is executive power, the legislature can only discuss and cannot make changes,” that the “CSSTA is an executive order”, that “If the CSSTA does not pass, this will affect the reputation of Taiwan and the country’s economy will be affected, or that “Only after the CSSTA passes can the TPP pass.” Before the Ma administration agreed to the CSSTA, it had not drawn up assessments of what the effects on job loss in Taiwan would be, and after agreeing to the CSSTA did not heed public dissatisfaction, or seek any later remedy for its mistakes. During the 21 public hearings in which representatives of every industry raised skepticism towards the CSSTA, it did not give concrete answers in any form, and instead whitewashed its actions in public messaging, treating the public as though they were ignorant masses in an authoritarian manner. The Ma administration and the KMT wish for the country’s democratic system to collapse, including blocking the means of the people to express their democratic will within the government system and oversight measures, which is what has forced the people who have been excluded from government into confrontation.
The CSSTA cannot sacrifice the rights of the majority in order to satisfy the monopoly interests of the minority of the government. Legislators from both parties cannot succumb to this “group vote” principle, and must push for line by line reading of the bill, must follow democratic principles in the legislative procedures. They must also face the CSSTA’s impact on the survival of Taiwan’s welfare industry, the opportunities for employment of its people, the sustainability of its national insurance system, social welfare, its foundation of talented peoples, its economic independence, it’s cultural independence, the right to privacy of its citizens, freedom of speech, the values of democratic rights, and other national insurances, as well as guarantees of the people’s welfare, democracy, human rights, and national security as preconditions which require cautious oversight of its contents.
Photo credit: Lin Fei-Fan/Facebook
We solemnly protest the Ma administration forcibly pushing the CSSTA into law. As such, we here assemble individuals from all walks of live to request the CSSTA should undergo oversight in the legislature under the following conditions:
- The CSSTA should not automatically go into effect, nor should it automatically go into effect after a second reading
- The opposition party should raise a proposal for a public hearing for there to be a line by line review of the bill. Relevant legislative committees and the legislative assemblies discuss it line by line
- The Legislative Yuan’s relevant committees and legislative assembly should examine and vote on items on a line by line basis following discussion
- Legislators from both parties should uphold their responsibilities to the people in implementing these deliberations
- The Legislative Yuan should not prevent the version of the CSSTA proposed by civil society from discussion within the legislature
- Alternative procedures such as “returning and discontinuing the CSSTA” should not be excluded from discussion
We request that the Ma administration, Premier Jiang of the Executive Yuan, and members of the KMT to agree to these six demands and give a concrete answer in the next 24 hours, otherwise we will increase the scale of our protest activities.
We solemnly warn that the Ma administration must not violate the line-by-line substantive review and try further efforts to pass the CSSTA into law. If the Ma administration continues to ignore the demands of the majority of the Taiwanese people, this will lead to the collapse of Taiwanese democracy, trampling on the welfare of the Taiwanese people, something the Taiwanese people will not submit to and comply with, giving up their right of self-determination over their land. We will begin different forms of civil disobedience, to resist something which has not been approved by the Taiwanese people: the illegal CSSTA.
This is the bottom line, that the CSSTA cannot come to be. This is for the sake of the people’s welfare. 120 hours to protect Taiwan democracy! Please, everyone stand up together!
Jointly Signed by the Following Organizations
Democratic Front (民主陣線), Taiwan Labor Front (台灣勞工陣線), Taiwan Rural Front (台灣農村陣線), Taiwan Association for Human Rights (台灣人權促進會), Taiwan Democracy Watch (守護民主平台), Taiwan Association of University Professors (台灣教授協會), Taipei Society (澄社), Taiwan Forever Association (永社), Awakening Foundation (婦女新知基金會), Covenants Watch (兩公約施行監督聯盟), Constitutional Citizen Group (Original Constitutional Law 133) (憲政公民團(原憲法133) ), Citizen Congress Watch (公民監督國會聯盟), Citizens of the Earth, Taiwan (地球公民基金會), Green Citizens Action Alliance (綠色公民行動聯盟), Judicial Reform Association (民間司法改革基金會), Anti-Media Monopoly Youth Association (反媒體巨獸青年聯盟), Black Island Youth Front (黑色島國青年陣線), Big Citizen Is Watching You (公民覺醒聯盟), Protect Miaoli Youth Association (捍衛苗栗青年聯盟), Praxis in South Association (行南文化協會), NTU Dalawasao (台灣大學濁水溪社), National Yangming University Meaningful Association (陽明大學有意思社), Kaohsiung City Confederation Of Trade Unions (高雄市產業總工會), Kaohsiung Federation of Trade Unions (大高雄總工會), Taiwan Labor Policy and Social Research Association (台灣勞動政策與社會研究協會), Working Poor and Tax Policy Research Center (工作貧窮研究室), Taiwan Manufacturing Industry Alliance (台灣製造產業大聯盟), First Year Culture Association Preparation (文化元年基金會籌備處), Public Opinion Oversight Insurance Association (民間監督健保聯盟), ROC Handicapped Association (中華民國殘障聯盟), ROC Elderly Welfare Promotion Association (中華民國老人福利推動聯盟), Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare (台灣少年權益與福利促進聯盟), Insurance Rights Promotion Association (建教生權益促進聯盟), Garden of Hope Foundation (勵馨基金會), Taiwan Social Welfare League (台灣社會福利總盟), Chiayi City Taoshan Cultural Center (嘉義市桃山人文會館), Happy Citizen School (快樂公民學苑), Zero KMT Assets Association (黨產歸零聯盟), Taiwan Women’s Link (台灣女人連線), Taiwan Society (台灣社), Taiwan Northern Society (台灣北社), Taiwan Southern Society (台灣南社), Taiwan Hakka Society (台灣客社), Taiwan Justice (台灣公義會), World United Formosans For Independence (台獨聯盟), Alliance Of Referendum For Taiwan (公投護台灣聯盟), 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign (908台灣國), Taiwanese National Party (台灣民族同盟), Taipei Water Ding Dong Sisters Association (台北水噹噹姊妹聯盟), 21st Century Taiwan Women Association (台灣21世紀婦女協會), Taiwan Parents Participating in Education Association (台灣親子共學教育促進會), Cross-Straits Oversight Association (兩岸協議監督聯盟)