Many international commentators hailed the election of Ma Ying-jeou and the pro-China policies he advanced as marking the end of Taiwan’s de facto independence and a sign that Taiwan had been bought off politically by China because it had become economically dependent on it. This view from the international community was exemplified for many Taiwanese individuals in the article “Say Goodbye To Taiwan” by John Mearsheimer in The National Interest arguing that absorption into China was only a matter of time.
Perhaps there was a desperation about the movement in this sense. But after the movement, international observers, such as Ian Rowen in the first English-language academic account of the Sunflower Movement and the most widely cited account to date, “Inside Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement: Twenty-Four Days in a Student-Occupied Parliament, and the Future of the Region,” would suggest that the movement had perhaps in some way disproved Mearsheimer.
Photo credit: Y.H. Kao/Flickr/CC
However, many remain still unaware of the movement. While the Sunflower Movement threw cold water on this belief, the fact that the majority of the world remained unaware of the movement, even among Asia experts, raises the possibility that many members of the international community do not anticipate any resistance from Taiwan to Chinese annexation. In this way, perhaps the tasks of the movement remain to be fulfilled.