Alongside questions about why tensions in Taiwanese seemed highest perhaps not during the movement itself, but in the aftermath, during Lin Yi-Hsiung’s (林義雄) hunger strike against nuclear energy, it is also a question why so much outrage against the movement ensued after the 324 attempted storming of the Executive Yuan but not after the initial storming of the Legislative Yuan.
Perhaps one of the reasons why outrage followed over the storming of the Executive Yuan but not the Legislative Yuan was because, apart from when legislature is in session, the Legislative Yuan building is not normally used. On the other hand, the Executive Yuan building is constantly in use and attempts to occupy it were seen as overly disruptive of the normal functioning of government by some. It was generally a claim used by Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) and other critics of the Sunflower Movement, however, that the students’ actions were disruptive and intolerable for disrupting the daily functioning of the government, so crucial to the smooth operation of Taiwanese society as a whole.
Photo credit: VOA
Likewise, students may have been seen as having crossed a line through attempts to escalate the movement, whereas despite being an escalation of the original “120 Hours To Protect Democracy” (捍衛民主120小時) action, the occupation of the Legislative Yuan was seen as defensive of Taiwanese democracy in nature. Again, public perception of the students saw them as “pure” and moral exemplars, given Taiwan’s nature as a Confucian society, and actions which ruptured that perception sometimes provoked outrage. Nevertheless, polling results released on 327, several days after the attempted Executive Yuan occupation, still found that the majority of Taiwanese society supported the Sunflower Movement.
Later on, to address such controversies, an investigation working group, the “324 Truth And Reconciliation Working Group” would be formed by National Taiwan University sociology department Ph. D student Lin Chuan-Kai (林傳凱), who had been one of the organizers of the Department of Social Sciences Group, and who was a researcher into the history of the White Terror. This group conducted over 60 interviews and produced a report on the events of 324, released on the two year anniversary of 324 in 2016. They would also organize a walking tour of the key events of 324 with the Untouchables’ Liberation area in 2016. This investigation group, in part, sought to gather facts about police violence for future legal evidence, in cooperation with the Judicial Reform Foundation, and ultimately was critical of what it viewed as state violence in its report.