Was All Of Taiwanese Society Supportive Of The Movement?

Was All Of Taiwanese Society Supportive Of The Movement?

What were the reasons that members of Taiwanese society opposed the Sunflower Movement?

Indeed, as with any social movement, the Sunflower Movement had its critics. And while the movement was one whose high point was 500,000 people taking the streets of Taipei (台北) on March 30th, 2014, some two percent of the entire population of Taiwan, there remain large differences in views about the movement.

Some were just opposed to the movement outright although there were, of course, a number of reasons for this opposition. Some did not agree with the demands of the movement, with the view that the CSSTA was a necessary trade bill for Taiwan, which has a stagnating economy or the view that the occupiers were irrational in their opposition to the bill and opposed it simply because it was a trade bill with China. Still others were simply in favor of political unification between Taiwan and China, whether through the CSSTA or other means.

There were those supportive of the demands of the movement but not the means by which the movement articulated these demands, in its willingness to break the law through the occupation of government buildings. For some, the action of occupying the Legislative Yuan itself was illegal. For others, what crossed the line was the attempted occupation of the Executive Yuan that took place five days later after the initial occupation. 

Unsurprisingly, then, there were also criticisms of the Sunflower Movement occupation of the Legislative Yuan with the claim that a group of young people acting on partisan political interests merely claimed they were acting on behalf of majority Taiwanese society and that this would lead to political groups of any stripe attempting to storm the Legislative Yuan in order to try and push through their partisan demands.

And there were also those who just felt the participants of the Sunflower Movement were just a bunch of kids stirring up trouble. That politics was a dirty thing which the young should just avoid. Or that this was just all something concocted by the DPP, for the sake of elections.

Having opposed the Sunflower Movement is something different from actively mobilizing against the Sunflower Movement, however. There was, consequently, an organized opposition which demonstrated against the movement at several points, mobilizing tens of thousands at their peak.


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Photo credit: Brian Hioe