state coercive power and non-violence

When the students forced their way into the Executive Yuan compound yesterday, they were forcing a confrontation.  All week long, Premier Jiang and President Ma had been encouraging Speaker Wang to use force to clear the legislature.  The students had to know that Ma and Jiang would not allow them to occupy the EY.  Further, the executive branch is a little different in nature than the legislative branch.  You can shut down the legislature for a few days without any dire consequences, but the executive branch has day-to-day operations.  My personal opinion is that the president and premier had good cause to order the police to remove the student protesters from the EY compound.  (When I think about it, I’m still shocked that force hasn’t been employed to clear the legislature.  It is extraordinary for any government to allow demonstrators to occupy critical government buildings.)

Forcing a confrontation is not necessarily a problem for practitioners of non-violent resistance.  (If I recall correctly, Gandhi did not like the term “passive resistance.”  There is nothing passive about it.)  One of the basic ideas of non-violent resistance is to force authorities to suppress you.  By accepting whatever violence they impose upon your person without retaliation, you demonstrate your commitment to a cause and establish your moral authority.  You are trying to cause observers, including the authorities who repress you, to reflect on why you believe so strongly in something and question whether or not they are justified in using physical force to compel you to follow their rules or orders.  You also send a message that you are resolutely committed to your position, so the authorities should not expect your resistance to fade away simply because they have repressed you one time.  Like a hunger strike, non-violent resistance relies on your willingness to endure physical suffering to communicate the seriousness of the injustice.

The most difficult thing about non-violent resistance is the non-violence part.  It is extremely hard not to defend yourself or fight back when you are being physically attacked.  I was very impressed with the way the demonstrators in the EY courtyard conducted themselves last night.  I saw very few instances of protesters retaliating.  They certainly resisted: by lying down, locking arms, and trying hard not to be pulled away, they were defying police orders and efforts.  However, almost none of the protesters lashed out physically at the police.  In fact, the students were so successful in resisting arrest that the police had to step up their level of physical coercion by bringing in water cannons.  They were not going to be able to clear the complex by dawn by simply pulling apart protesters one by one.  Again, this is how non-violent protest is supposed to work.  You are trying to force the authorities to suppress you as vividly and brutally as possible.  By accepting higher levels of suffering, you make a stronger statement.  The students last night made a very loud statement with their actions.

[Note: The most significant retaliation I saw was directed toward the water cannon trucks.  Demonstrators pelted them with small (relatively harmless) objects, such as plastic water bottles.  Two of the three trucks got flat tires.  No one has explained what happened, but it is reasonable to suspect that someone in the crowd punctured the tires.  I do not consider violence like this toward a physical object (the trucks) to be as significant as the restraint showed toward humans (the police).]

From the other side, the police were given orders to clear the compound using whatever non-lethal force they deemed necessary.  [I saw no hints of preparation to use lethal force, and I can’t imagine that President Ma or Premier Jiang even considered that option.]  Of course, the police are supposed to use the absolute minimum level of violence necessary.  However, this was a fundamentally physical confrontation, and their first order was to get the job done.  Some excessive use of force had to be expected as different people made different judgment calls on the ground.  The responsibility for any excessive violence belongs entirely to Ma and Jiang, not to the police.  When Ma and Jiang ordered the operation, they authorized the violence.

For the most part, I don’t think the violence got out of control.  The police had to use some force, and they did.  In fact, the students were resolute and solid enough that the police had to escalate their force.  I did not see what went on beyond the view of the TV cameras, and there are indications that the police were less restrained in their use of force in those areas.  However, I generally think the police used appropriate levels of coercive power to carry out their orders in clearing the compound.

In short, the students forced a confrontation by occupying the legislature.  Ma and Jiang made a justifiable choice to use force to clear them out.  Governments simply cannot let protesters take over critical public offices, especially ones that are responsible for the daily operations of the state.  The police were given orders, and they carried out their orders in a more or less professional manner.  The students made a strong statement of their moral authority, resoluteness, and commitment to their cause.  There were no riots, no deaths, and minimal property damage.  The students, the police, and Ma and Jiang all faced a challenge, and I think they all met that challenge reasonably well.

There is one exception.  There is a fundamental distinction between protests inside the EY and protests out on the street.  Ma and Jiang had a clear justification for removing protesters from the EY building and courtyard.  However, there is far, far less justification for removing protesters from the streets outside the EY.  People have a fundamental right to assembly; indeed the Council of Grand Justices just issued a constitutional interpretation declaring spontaneous street demonstrations to be legal.  After sunrise and after the EY had been cleared out, the police demanded that people clear the streets around the EY.  When the protesters did not comply, police used water cannons on them.  This was excessive force against legitimate protesters.  Ma and Jiang can credibly claim that the protests inside the EY were illegal; I do not believe that justification extends to protests outside the EY.  Using water cannons against street protesters was an excessive, irresponsible, and unnecessary use of coercive power against citizens.


From a strategic point of view, I think the students committed a serious blunder.  When they were still only in the legislature, they enjoyed high levels of public support and moral authority.  I think they have probably surrendered some of that.  They also had opportunities to engage in substantive debate on the CSSTA.  They might have tried to focus public attention on particular parts of the pact, perhaps by taking up one specific topic every day.  The focus has now shifted drastically away from any sort of substantive debate.  We are now simply talking about who is right and who is wrong.  This is probably working against the students since the radical students who stormed the EY allowed Ma and Jiang to redefine the students as violent and their actions as illegal.  The moderates still in the legislature have far less room to maneuver now, and I don’t know that they can accomplish anything more than they already have. It is probably time for them to consider their exit strategies.

From here, we are probably moving to a new phase in which the professional politicians take center stage.  Speaker Wang has started inter-party negotiations, and legislators will make the next few critical decisions, including how to define the CSSTA, how to review it, how many and what types of votes will be allowed, and so on.  We haven’t heard a lot from individual legislators, especially from the KMT, about their substantive views on the CSSTA.  It’s time to see if the KMT is really solidly behind this pact or not.

46 Responses to “state coercive power and non-violence”

  1. Jenna Cody Says:

    From the black squares and pictures of blood and injuries on my Facebook feed today (I’ll admit, I shared, because I very subjectively detest Ma Ying-jiu and want his administration to suffer the consequences of this bad PR – this is just my own bias, but I’m not sorry) I would say that while the students lost some good PR, they also gained some. A lot of people – including myself – know deep down that the police did what they had to do and did it reasonably professionally – but the photos of the injuries sustained by protesters have in fact generated a lot of other good PR (maybe not quite as good – certainly less substantive as it’s more “look at these bad guys” and less “look at this terrible trade pact”).

    I’m curious what you think of the very popular theory that the EY break-ins were orchestrated by KMT agent provocateurs? Apparently (and this is really a rumor, take it with a grain of salt) some of the ‘masked men’ breaking in who were identified were found to have KMT connections.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      If you read my “Oops” post, you’ll see that I’m partial to a different crazy conspiracy theory. If there is anything suspicious to me, it is that the EY was left so unguarded and tantalizingly vulnerable. Also that King Pu-tsung is an evil genius. But these are all unfounded crazy talk. The important thing is that some students actually did occupy the EY. We know who the leader is, and he is not a KMT agent. We also know that the students who followed him and got physically removed were 99.9% sincere in their actions.

    • joequant2013 Says:

      I think the KMT itself is worried about the conspiracy theories, which is why they didn’t do anything about the LY protesters. One big problem you have in politics is to convince people that conspiracy theories are not true, which is difficult because there really are conspiracies, and the people involved are conspiracy geniuses.

      The way to prove that this wasn’t a conspiracy is not to move against the LY students. At that point if you want a conspiracy theory, it’s going to be an extremely complicated one. The other thing is that if you have reporters following you around everywhere, that blunts the conspiracies.

      The DPP has also been careful to blunt possible conspiracies in which the students are just an arm of the DPP. Also for a moment, I wondered how much Wang Jyn-Ping was associated with the LY students.

      I also don’t think that the EY students were “bad people” and I certainly don’t think that that they intentionally caused the amount of damage that they did. It’s also clear that some of the people who were causing mischief were not students.

      However, this always tends to happen when you use a “flash crowd” strategy. Once you tell X thousand people to come to one place and overwhelm the police, you end up with a lot of people who just want to cause trouble.

    • joequant2013 Says:

      People dislike/hate Ma Ying-Jeou. That’s why he has tried to stay quiet. It was a good thing for him to disappear for a day, because his unpopularity hurts the KMT and the CSSTA.

      That’s also why it would have been a *terrible* idea for him to talk to the students directly. However, we are having a set of negotiations. The students issued a set of demands. Ma responded at the news conference with some concessions. This will go back and forth for a few more days.

      This has been unusually public, because most of these sorts of negotiations happen behind closed doors. The reason that this has to be mostly public is that the students need the agreement to be visibly seen. Also, the student leaders need to reassurance their supporters that they aren’t making bad side deals, and finally, the negotiators for the government are just really, really good at “closed-door negotiations” and much less good at “negotiation via megaphone” or “negotiation through facebook.”

  2. Jenna Cody Says:

    Also, while I agree with you almost entirely, I still have the same feeling about those ‘inside protests’.

    Those who say “but the protesters could have just protested on the street!” often know quite well that such protests are wholly ineffectiv, and I suspect many of them say this because they know such protests are ineffective, and they don’t want them to succeed because it threatens a status quo they like/benefit from.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      In the mirror universe in which the side you prefer is in power and is ready to do something that you passionately believe in, would you accept the democratic process being blocked by an unelected group of protesters? Democracy does not guarantee that your side will win or that you will like the policy output.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        I would not, if I believed that were those “blockers” removed, that what would happen was democratic. That’s why in the past I’ve figured street protests were the way to go.

        Now, I don’t think what happens in the LY is even remotely democratic – and even in that mirror universe I’d see the value in such a protest if democracy were being subverted by the legislators themselves.

        And now, I have no more faith in street protests…all sound and fury, signifying nothing. What’s the point when the government so pointedly ignores them?

        I was not and am not in favor of occupying the EY, only because I feel it’ll hurt the activists’ cause. But in terms of the EY supporting the LY in their breach of democracy (we can get legalistic here, but I’d prefer not to – even if what they did was technically legal, it was still a breach of democracy), and allowing it to stand by refusing to insist that the LY make things right (if they have that power – even if they technically don’t in terms of guanxi they probably do have sufficient influence), I feel the EY is now subverting democracy too.

        In short, if the occupation blocked democracy I’d be against it, but if the point of the occupation was to insist on appropriate democratic process in the face of a government set on flaunting it, I’m all for it.

        I was before and I still am.

        If, on the other hand, Fu Mao had been passed with due process, as much as I detest it and the Ma administration, I’d have to concede that it had passed fairly and wouldn’t be in favor of such occupations.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        In a democracy, people can block things with an unelected group of special interests and lobbyists. Unelected corporations and other special interests are extremely skilled at blocking legislation that they do not like.

        Democracy does not guarantee that your side will win, but one thing legitimate greivance that the students have is that “big corporations” and other interests that they do not agree with end up controlling the system. At that point, its very legitimate for them to start using their advantages to make sure that they have the appropriate amount of input.

        I used to work in an investment bank, and what they students are doing aren’t any different from what big corporations do all the time to kill legislation. This is why I’m glad they are doing it, even though I disagree with their views in this particular issue.

        The thing about these students is that they were able to get 30,000 protesters to join them. Once you are able to mobilize that many people, then politics through street protests becomes *dangerous*. Having 30,000 upset people in one place can cause a lot of problems, and at that point it’s matter to give those 30,000 people a seat at the table in the committee room. One reason that I think it *was* necessary to clear the EY is that if you have a lot of people in the EY plaza with no obvious control and leadership, this is just a recipe for another confrontation. If you leave several tens of thousands of people in the EY plaza, they can try to flood the EY again.

        I’m not sure that given the limits the students have commited a strategic blunder. One reason I don’t think so is that I personally think that the more the Taiwanese public looks at the details of the trade pact, the more that they will like it, and so going into the details will benefit pact supporters. The other issue is that the students just don’t have the staff support to do or lead a line by line review themselves.

        I think we are moving into a new stage, in which the students will have to learn to be professional politicians, and the LY students are doing a good job. The students have a “legislative hold” and discussion on the CSSTA simply cannot continue without the students releasing that hold, or the DPP agreeing to force legislation to be released.

        Again, this sort of thing happens behind closed doors all of the time. I watched it personally happen when Dodd-Frank was being drafted in the US.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        One thing about street protests is that street protests are extremely important in Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is not, never was, and probably never will be an electoral democracy, street protests turn out to be essential to provide public input into policy because there are none of the other standard mechanisms.

        One big difference between Taiwan political culture and Hong Kong political culture is that Taiwan has excellent polls and market research. Political parties need to find out how much support they really have, so there are some excellent statisticians and private companies that will give politicians excellent insight in public opinion through statistical surveys. Hong Kong doesn’t have that. Because you don’t have real elections, there’s no need for polls, and the polls that do get published are widely seen as being biased and badly worded. This means the only real way that you can find out what people think is through street demonstrations.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        I highly doubt that the more the public looks at Fu Mao, the more they will like it. The more I read about it, the more I think it’s a terrible pact. (I’m not anti-services liberalization per se, I just think Fu Mao specifically will give China the leverage to buy up enough interests in Taiwan to permanently block any hope of a fair referendum on independence someday, and the ability to buy up enough media to turn most of it into bumrags as bad as People’s Daily).

        In fact, everything I’ve been hearing through my social network – which is anecdata, I know – is that the more the public hears about Fu Mao, the worse they think it is.

        In my personal opinion, rightly so.

      • frozengarlic Says:

        I also am more and more against the CSSTA the more I learn about it. This is partially because the opponents have come up with detailed problems while the government simply repeats its vague assertion that this agreement will be good for Taiwan and refusal to ratify it will damage Taiwan’s international credibility. Since I don’t already believe the first argument, it isn’t very persuasive. The second argument is ridiculous blackmail. The government refused to let the general public have any input while the deal was being negotiated, and now they want society to accept a crude deal unconditionally. The rest of the world can see clearly why society wants this deal rejected. By the way, a new TVBS poll suggests that support for the CSSTA is going down.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        In the end, though, the public actually getting to see what’s in Fu Mao and then being able to decide on it, via elected representatives who support it or not, is the important thing.

        My problem with this whole thing is that it was passed in an undemocratic way (again I don’t care about the letter of the law here, what happened was against the spirit of democracy), and that so few people really know what’s in it in any great detail.

        I personally hope the students’ achievement is that the content of Fu Mao gets out (and that it gets sent back for a clause-by-clause review), and yes, I do hope that as a result the public says “no way, we don’t want this! give us a trade pact that won’t give China so much leverage in our economy and media”. But if they don’t do that…well, that’s their choice.

        If this thing goes through, and Taiwan’s character is changed as much as I think it would be by it, I might leave (I’d stay on and support Taiwan if I felt like I was ‘fighting the good fight’, but if cozying up to a country salivating at the thought of annexing you is something the people choose, there is no good fight to fight). I don’t want to live in Hong Kong II or Mini-China, so why would I want to stay in a country that becomes just that, if I’m right?

  3. joequant2013 Says:

    As far as public support for the CSSTA. Those of us who are strongly supporting it have kept very quiet over the last week because we don’t want to be screamed at. But as things calm down, I think you will see more and more people starting to state their support for it, and there will be enough support to pass it.

    Part of it is that if you want a reasonable, and rational discussion about why I support the CSSTA, you need to promise to listen to me. If I open my mouth, and I get screamed at (i.e. like the Prime Minister), then it’s a waste of my energy to talk, and I think you are going to find that there is more public opinion in support of CSSTA than you can see if you just look at the protests. Ma has access to poll numbers and he is taking a very hard line because he thinks he can.

    One reason democracy is difficult is that we all have different information sources and are seeing different things and have different goals. I used to work in an investment bank, and Ma’s statement that Taiwan will lose international credibility if it doesn’t pass CSSTA is absolutely correct. The international banking and financial community does not have a high opinion of Taiwan, and failing to pass CSSTA will just cause people to cross Taiwan from the list of places to invest.

    Also, the problem with trade agreements is that they are extremely complex, and no one sees the whole picture. I can talk about how I think the CSSTA is essential for high-tech SME’s. I have no idea how CSSTA affects laundries or printing. If there are some big issues then yes, we can renegotiate, but only renegotiate *after* you’ve passed the parts that are not necessary to renegotiate.

    The polls have gone down after the demonstrations, but you still have a huge number of people undecided. Also, a big question is how many of the people that are against care enough about it to make an election issue out of it. The DPP is being careful with this issue since they’ve found that being against China trade *kills* them in elections.

    The government *did* get a lot of input from business groups and other affected parties during the trade negotiations. They did not get enough input from college students and the academia, but we can fix that in the next month or two. The points that Ma are making are the ones that anyone in the banking industry has told him.

    As far as the leverage argument, one reason that I’m extrermely supportive of the CSSTA is that Hong Kong has found that being integrated in the Chinese economy *increases* its leverage. Hong Kong is not Shanghai, and by integrating itself with China, Hong Kong can use its distinctive advantages (i.e. English based legal system, European heritage, free press) and this increases it’s power with respect to China. China has a chokehold on Hong Kong but Hong Kong equally has a chokehold on China, and that forces everyone to be nice to each other.

    Given that people are now under control, these are the ways that this can end:

    1) You start seeing massive demonstrations against the trade agreement. At that point it becomes electoral poison, and the DPP turns solidly against it. At that point the KMT legislators will turn against the agreement, and its dead. I *don’t* think that this is going to happen. I was worried that I had completely misjudged Taiwanese public opinion last week, but the numbers are what I would have expected.

    The big thing was the number of people that protested KMT headquarters. If you had 30,000 people around each KMT bureau, then that would have meant that public opinion wasn’t where I thought it would be. If you have a few hundred in the south and no one in the north, that’s what I expected.

    2) You don’t see any change in CSSTA opinions. The students call for more protests, but they are ignored. Over time, the crowds get smaller and smaller, at that point the students negotiate something that will get them a seat at the table, and then leave voluntarily.

    3) The students stay in the legislature for a long time, and people get tired. At which point public opinion turns against them, and then Wang Jyn-Ping with the full approval of both the KMT and DPP authorizes force to remove the students.

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      I would not put too much stock in any example for Taiwan drawn on Hong Kong – news coming out of Hong Kong clearly supports the notion that most Hong Kongers are not happy with their lot post-1997. I really would not want to see Taiwan go down that road.

      I have not seen a lot of support for Fu Mao beyond the protests, by the way. And I actually don’t think there’ll be more – maybe from large business owners, sure, but from most people, I’m not at all convinced that they will like it. ECFA isn’t that popular now (and with good reason) and Fu Mao is an extension of that.

      Speaker Wang might approve of removing the students after awhile, but knowing the DPP, they won’t. I do agree, however, that they can’t stay much longer. They’ve proven their point.

  4. Max Says:


    ” If there are some big issues then yes, we can renegotiate, but only renegotiate *after* you’ve passed the parts that are not necessary to renegotiate.”

    But the problem is, Mr Ma tells us, we won’t be able to renegotiate only parts of the agreement, We will either need to take it all or just kill it. From his public statements, he really doesn’t give Taiwanese the option you mentioned.

  5. joequant2013 Says:

    Ma is not Xi Jinping, and Taiwan is a democracy. If enough Taiwanese tell him to go jump in the lake, he has to give in. That *hasn’t* happened yet, and I do not think it *will* happen, but you can true to make this happen.

    Let’s be clear on one thing. If CSSTA passes at this point it will because the students have not made a strong enough case to the Taiwanese public to convince non-students to vote out pro-CSSTA people at the next election.

    Ma is taking a hard line on the CSSTA because he thinks that he has the votes and the public support to do so. If you show him that he is wrong, he will cave, but the anti-CSSTA haven’t done so yet.

    Right now if I were anti-CSSTA, I’d focus on the DPP more than the KMT. The DPP needs to come out strongly and explicitly against the agreement. If they don’t do that, then the agreement will pass.

    Also this assumes that there are big issues. That means going through a review (and this does not have to be done with the legislature). If at that point there are specific issues then you can work with CSSTA supporters to put pressure on Ma and the KMT to address those specific issues.

    Also, people like me that are pro-CSSTA will only agree to consider a renegotiation of parts of the deal, if it’s clear that this isn’t an excuse to kill the whole thing. Right now from the student rhetoric, it seems pretty clear that they want to kill the whole thing, so there is no point in discussing anything. You can change the rhetotic if someones says “we want X to pass, but not Y.”

    Also, you *can* introduct supplemental legislation in addition to the pact, and also work in regulatory issues. The nature of trade agreements means that the pact cannot be renegotiated without killing it for another two or three years. If there is a review (and again this doesn’t have to be done by the legislature) and there are some issues that don’t require a total renegotiation, it can be addressed by supplementary legislation or regulatory interpretations.

    Frankly, I don’t think those issues exist, and “renegotiation” is just an excuse to kill the pact. However, I’m not familar with the impact of the outside of high tech and finance.

    One problem is that this involves *listening* and giving people that have different views an opportunity to talk, and taking what they think seriously. People are not going to tell you what they think when you are screaming at them.

    If you want my views:

    1) It’s not true that Ma and the KMT haven’t been listening to anyone. The CSSTA had a lot of input from Taiwanese business groups. Some of them represent big business, but others represent SME’s. The fu-mao students think they haven’t been consulted, and they are correct, but saying X was not consulted is different from saying that the general public was not consulted.

    2) One reason it’s hard for me to take the objections that the students bring up seriously is that none of them have actually run small businesses. I have. If you want to convince me that fu-mao is a bad idea, I’ll listen a lot more closely if you have someone that has worked in high technology or finance, and if you can get someone that is in high-tech or finance to be anti fu-mao then they can more effective tell you how to kill it.

    Talking about “saving small business” doesn’t give you much credibility if you are a college student or an economics professor. To have credibility you need to convince a lot of small business owners in Taiwan to support you, and I haven’t seen that happen yet.

    3) I *want* to expand my business from Hong Kong to Taiwan, especially once I get HK PR which will happen in three years. I have more family connections in Taiwan, I’m a lot more familiar with Taiwan culture than HK culture, and Taiwan has some advantages over HK when it comes to high tech (like a lot of universities and much cheaper cost of living). I can’t do this because the Taiwanese government (and I hoped that KMT would be better than DPP but they aren’t) doesn’t provide a good regulatory environment. There are just too many restrictions on doing financial businesses, and the regulators are clueless and the local markets are too small. CSSTA and other cross-straits pacts will turn “impossible” into “merely difficult.”

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      Respectfully, you don’t think a 9% approval rating is similar to the Taiwanese public telling Ma to go jump in a lake?

      I guess I’m coming at Fu Mao differently from you, Joe. The very honest truth, and I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, is that I don’t really care as much how Fu Mao will affect business owners – not that that’s not important – but they’ve already had their say. I care about how it’ll affect those whose opinions haven’t been heard (those like the students). ECFA has hurt large swaths of the population – a lot of wealthy people got wealthier, but that hasn’t trickled down, and I do see how it has contributed to wage stagnation in Taiwan and the movement of jobs from Taiwan to China (or at least businesses telling their Taiwanese managers that they now must spend several months a year in China, which they don’t want to do).

      And I care about those swaths of the population. More than I do about your business interests (again I’m sorry to be so blunt).

      As my friend said on Facebook: 我們所處的行業是受惠服貿的,若有能力跨國界流動,更是既得利益者!若去抗議不是三八假賢慧?(但我實在𣎴解一些會被服貿犧牲的人,到底是在對馬情義相挺啥?)

      A rough translation is “Actually I should have a vested interest in Fu Mao, it’ll help our business” (he’s in investment/finance) “but how can I support something that helps me at the expense of others?)”

      Fu Mao may help you, Joe, and that’s great. But it will do so at the expense of others, will probably lead to greater wage stagnation in Taiwan, and also at the expense of – possibly – the real estate market and the locally-owned media.

      And for that reason, I just can’t support it and someone saying “it’ll help my business” isn’t going to change my mind. I care less about your business than I do about my friends who deserve more than $25k a month for their hard work.

      So, I’ve listened to you, but I fail to be convinced. I doubt I’ll convince you, but that’s OK…you’re entitled to your opinion as well.

      I just hope the Taiwanese people fall on my side. Don’t we all. I hpe they get rid of the KMT in 2016. If they don’t, that’s their choice.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        I can’t edit my comment but wanted to add at the end of the 2nd paragraph that Fu Mao will likely deepen the bad effects ECFA has had, and heighten the good effects. But from my standpoint as a freelancer who isn’t running a large operation and whose income depends on how much others are willing to pay for my services – which depends on how much they are making, which gives me a vested interest in seeing wages rise – Fu Mao will be a disaster for people like me, just like ECFA certainly hurt my bottom line.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        I don’t know if this got added elsewhere, but I’m a one person shop on Hong Kong.

        The trouble is that 9% includes people that think that Ma hasn’t been pushed things far enough. Anti-fumao, anti-KMT, and anti-Ma are different things. The Taiwan regulatory system is a total mess, and I’m dissatisified with Ma because I thought he would be better at business than he was.

        I’m writing this from Hong Kong where trade pacts with the Mainland have created a lot of opportunities for freelancers. I’m likely to hire a few web designers in the next year, and I’m paying rent to a co-work space.

        ECFA is I think an unfair scapegoat. Wages have been stagnant in Taiwan, they have dropped off a cliff in Europe. The problem is that Taiwan is a highly export driven economy and once the US and Europe goes, Taiwan gets hit very hard. Personally, I think that things would have been a *LOT* worse for Taiwan without ECFA. Without CSSTA things for Taiwan are bad. Without CSSTA things would be a lot worse.

        And what’s your alternative? Do you really believe that without CSSTA, Taiwan’s economy will be fine? I think it will be worse, because without CSSTA, Taiwan’s non-trade partners will move business to China, and Taiwan has to rely on its own markets, and Taiwan just is not big enough to sustain various industries.

        “It will help my business” may not change your mind, but it helps to make up the minds of people whose business who it helps. I was worried that Taiwan business people were agreeing with the fu-mao people.

        Also, sometimes explaining yourself won’t change an opinion but it will explain why someone disagrees.

        And it’s a bigger problem than KMT. If DPP gets elected in 2016, the agreements will happen much more slowly, but DPP has to convince people that everything won’t stop or else they will never get elected.

    • Max Says:


      No offense intended- but you sounds very strong minded on your support for the whole package for someone who admitted himself “not familiar with the impact of the outside of high tech and finance.”

      I was trying to point out you made the whole “renegotiation” sound too easy. Ma was right about one thing–you cannot cherrypick in this kind of trade pact. If the legislators seek to change some parts of it, the whole package will need to be renegotiated. There is no real way to accept some parts of it and execute them first (unless Beijing is really trying to be nice). I’ll say you clarified on that part to some extent in your reply though.

      And who is to say Beijing will agree to even start the process? Global Times, the CCP mouthpiece, is already saying Taiwan should just take the whole thing or leave it. Doesn’t sound like China is interested any sort of renegotiation.

      As for how Ma got his input for the pact, well Commonwealth Magazine had some reports on how clumsy and careless the government was when talking with industries outside of their focus (which was, guess what, IT and finance). On the top of my head, nurses, hairdressers and publishers have come out against it, so it’s not really accurate to say no or few outside of the academia are opposing. A quick google search should help you find more cases.

      And if polls are to be trusted, actually there have always been more people against the pact compared to those for it. The number of people against it has been growing during the current student movement. According to a TVBS poll over 60% are for rejecting the agreement (though the question was a bit vague and didn’t elaborate on what kind of rejection).

      Which brings us back to where the students are coming from: are elections the only part of democratic process? Did we vote for All Mighty who can decide everything for us during his term?

      I work in finance and have been based in Taiwan and HK for quite some years. I am glad you are doing well under Cepa and hope all the best for you personally. But my feeling is there is discontent so strong in Hong Kong that the social system is crumbling here. And HK doesn’t even have elections and is losing its free media (several attacks on editors over the past few months), so things could be worse than Taiwan eventually.

      If a policy benefits some parts of the society but hurt other parts too much, it could turn the whole society into ashes. No one really benefits in the end. I fear that is what’s happening in HK and will happen in Taiwan, very, very much.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        > But my feeling is there is discontent so strong in Hong
        > Kong that the social system is crumbling here. And HK
        > doesn’t even have elections and is losing its free media
        > (several attacks on editors over the past few months), so
        > things could be worse than Taiwan eventually.

        Yes discontent is strong and the social system is crumbling, but the government is trying very hard to create a new economy based on small business startups, and for this to work you need capital and markets which are coming from the Mainland.

        > If a policy benefits some parts of the society but hurt other > parts too much, it could turn the whole society into ashes. > No one really benefits in the end. I fear that is what’s
        > happening in HK and will happen in Taiwan, very, very
        > much.

        Exactly, but it could be worse. If killing fu-mao improves the Taiwan economy, then that’s great. However, I am very worried that killing fu-mao will make the Taiwan economy *worse than it is*. If that happens we will get into the trap of low economic growth -> political instability -> even lower economic growth, and this is just going to wipe out Taiwan.

        I’m optimistic that Hong Kong will make out out of the trap, because you see people trying to start new businesses, and starting new businesses in HK is critical, because being the golden goose is the only real card HK can play against the Mainland.

        And oddly enough, I agree with your main points about democracy. The Taiwanese bureaucracy has been nowhere as supportive of business as the Hong Kong ones, and there are a lot of issues other than CSSTA that need to be addressed, but in my view CSSTA is just the scapegoat for a lot of other problems.

  6. joequant2013 Says:

    One reason that I think protests like the fu-mao protests are good is that they give everyone an idea of public opinion. You can look at polls, but polls can be “spun” to give a certain result, and one thing about polls is that they tell you about numbers but they don’t tell you about *strength* of feeling. In the TVBS polls more people are anti-CSSTA than pro-CSSTA but that poll doesn’t tell you how strongly people feel. If the opinion numbers drop 10% over a few weeks, they could go back up again, and even if you pass something with minority support, it doesn’t matter if the majority is still willing to vote for you.

    I think we can be reasonably clear based on the numbers of people in the demonstrations how strong anti-fu mao support is. When the students announced that they were going to launch protests against the KMT I held my breath because either they were wildly mistaken about the amount of public support they had, or I was, and I was relieved when it turned out that they were wrong. You had a few hundred people showing up at the KMT headquarters in the south, no one in the north. The numbers of people participating in these demonstrations is not nearly enough to cause KMT legislators to consider changing their votes.

    One reason I’m a lot more active posting this week was that if they students had the amount of support they thought they had, then we’d be talking about a completely different political situation, but I think it’s clear that they wildly overestimated the amount of public support they had. If the students really had the amount of support they thought they’d had I’m been depressed and quiet now.

    This is democracy in action. We are looking at the breath and depth of public support in Taiwan and adjusting positions accordingly. The amount of public support that the students have is not enough to kill (or even substantially renegotiate) the pact, and the everyone has to adjust their demands based on this political reality.

    I think that over the next week you will see more pro-CSSTA activity. I was quiet last week because I wanted to see what public opinion was, and I didn’t want to seem *anti-student movement* and make myself look like a dictator. What I think will happen over the next week is that business groups and trade officials will start being more active about what CSSTA is a good thing.

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      Except, as I’ve written above, while Fu Mao may be good for people running large operations like you, it actually doesn’t look to be so good for average wage-earners.

      And if it’s not good for them, I fail to see how the government can realistically convince these folks that it will be.

      We were all promised rainbows and pots of gold with the last economic agreement, and what we got was the worst wage stagnation in decades.

      I fail to see how Fu Mao will change that, and the more I read about it, the more I think it won’t change it.

      It’ll help people like you at the expense of people like me (whose income depends on how high wages are across the board).

      That’s why I actually don’t think the public – most of whom are wage-earners and small business owners who aren’t looking to expand into China – is going to embrace Fu Mao.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        Except that I’m not a large operation. I have one employee. Myself. I might hire one or two people in Hong Kong in the next year, if I’m lucky.

        The reason CSSTA is so important is that I wouldn’t need it if I *was* a big multinational corporation. I used to work in a big bank, that did business in Mainland China, HK and, Taiwan, and they don’t have a problem with bureaucracy, because they can hire as many lawyers and lobbyists as they need to get it done. Without CSSTA, small businesses like myself *can’t* afford to do business in China from Taiwan.

        Also, HK is good because it lets me cooperate with small businesses in Shenzhen. I’m working with a number of startups in HK and Shenzhen to start up an ecosystem. None of us have more than ten employees. The big success story that I know of has about 80 employees, starting from nothing a few years ago. (

        The thing about Hong Kong is that the jobs in big companies are not there. It’s absolutely essential for people to start small companies. This means access to capital and Mainland markets…..

        Chinese capital is important. HK is being flooded with Mainland money. Some of it causing problems, but a lot of it makes its way into small businesses.

        Wage stagnation is a big problem. The only solution that I can think of is starting new companies to generate economic growth. Once you have small companies, then you attract investment from big companies like IBM and Google.

        Small business owners aren’t looking to expand into China because they can’t right now. CSSTA will change this.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        But in Taiwan Fu Mao will allow those big companies from China to compete with smaller ones already extant in Taiwan. Those smaller firms aren’t looking to expand to China, but Chinese businesses will be incentivized by the government over there to expand into Taiwan.

        That could create a rash of smaller Taiwanese companies going out of business, which could give Chinese interests majority control of some industries. At the very least it will force them to cut costs, which means depressed wages.

        I do think it’s fair to blame ECFA for the continued stagnation of the Taiwanese economy. “It would have been worse without ECFA and it will be worse without Fu Mao” are, I’m sorry, airhead KMT talking points, lacking substance. Plenty of economists challenge exactly those assertions, but those who parrot (yes, parrot) them don’t seem to listen.

        ECFA didn’t start the economy on its slide, true. Wage stagnation started at the turn of the millenium or thereabouts. But it certainly didn’t help it and arguably made it worse: in order to compete with Chinese interests, we’ve already seen employers attempting to keep labor costs low (when they were already too low to allow for the cost of living in Taiwan to begin with). ECFA made that worse, and if Fu Mao is ECFA+1, it’ll make it even more severe.

        As a freelancer, my income depends on private interests hiring me for my services (usually individuals who want to write more professionally for business, give better presentations, do public speaking etc)…when wages are depressed, my wages are depressed. ECFA hasn’t helped – if anything it’s made it harder for me. Fu Mao will be the same.

  7. joequant2013 Says:

    One reason democracy is hard is that you are dealing with different people, and it’s hard to trust people because sometimes you shouldn’t trust people.

    The big reason I’m not too keen on “renegotiation” or a “cross-straits law” is that I’m seeing that I think that conceding these points would rapidly lead to a situation where people would kill this agreement or any similar agreement by procedure. I wouldn’t object to a “review” of the agreement provided that it was clear that there would be a vote, because I personally think that the CSSTA would survive the a review. My honest opinion is that I don’t think that reviewing the CSSTA would seriously change public opinion.

    Yes, I know about the TVBS polls, if support goes down by *only* 11% after the events of last week, then we are doing pretty good. Also half went to oppose. Half went to undecided. Once a pro-CSSTA PR machine kicks in, the numbers will change.

    So right now Wang Jyn-Ping has gotten the legislative whips of the parties in the LY together, and I suspect this is what they are talking about.

    This has implications on how to handle the students. As a supporter of the CSSTA and someone that is extremely deep blue, my worry is that the students leave, things go back to the way they where before the demonstrations. At which point, the CSSTA opponents will try to fillibuster the bill, and if KMT does anything to speed things along, the KMT gets painted as evil dictators all over again.

    So what I think should happen is that the students should be allowed to stay in the legislature for as long as they want. A week. Two weeks. Six months. Up to them. They have the floor and they can keep it for as long as they want, so that way when they give up the floor, they can’t accuse KMT of being anti-democratic. If the students keep the floor for months, and people start getting annoyed, then at that point it should be clear that it’s not just the KMT that wants them out. This means that any decision to use force against the students in the LY has to be agreed to by all of the parties in the LY.

    Unless you can get the DPP leadership and legislators to state that they want the students out, then it’s not going to happen. As for how long the students stay there and what the DPP does, I don’t care. They can stay for the next year if they want. I care about what happens after they leave.

    The reason for this is that if they *fail* to convince the Taiwanese public that the CSSTA is a bad idea (and I support this approach because I think they will in fact fail), then after they give up the floor, neither the DPP or the students will be any position to either block the legislation or accuse the KMT of being anti-democratic.

  8. Jenna Cody Says:

    In all honesty, I see a lot of pro-Fu Mao arguments and think either “wow, this is really super vague” (not good) or “this sounds like US Republicans arguing that economic initiatives that help the wealthy and large businesses will help everyone, which in my lifetime at least has not been shown to be true at all – and yet they’re trying to convince the middle class that what’s good for the rich is good for them!”

    And yet, it’s not. Then when it doesn’t work and wealth inequality increases rather than decreases, the haves wonder why the have-nots no longer support their rhetoric.

    A few such Republicans (*cough* wealthy Taiwanese and KMT members *cough*) realize that this is all empty rhetoric – that the initiatives that help them don’t have to help the middle and working class – the middle and working classes simply need to be convinced that they will. This is the strategy I see Ma taking now. A few others actually and truly believe that the mechanisms that help them make money will help everyday wage-earners make money, and would be shocked to find that that’s not the case, not that they’ll ever question it enough to figure that out.

    Fu Mao is basically just like that, IMHO, but in a Taiwanese context.

    Painting this with a very broad brush here, but that’s what I see.

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      And as for why China likes it…well, because it won’t hurt them, and because it makes it possible for them to get such a stranglehold on the Taiwanese economy that a true, open referendum on independence could likely never take place. Economic blackmail. Financial hostage-taking.

      And China’s end goal isn’t free trade. HA! Their end goal is annexation.

      For that reason, I feel like “I’m in favor of Fu Mao because it will help my bottom line” = “I care about my bottom line more than I do the future of Taiwan”. Pretty cold, that. I mean, that’s how the world works but it doesn’t make it any less cold.

      Harsh, possibly offensive, but in my eyes, true.

      • joequant2013 Says:

        The trouble with that picture is that you to work you have to assume some thing that aren’t true. You were assuming that I’m run a big company. That’s not true. My company has one employee, myself.

        The reason that Ma can be vague with CSSTA is that he doesn’t have to convince me with arguments. I’m already convinced looking at my own business here in Hong Kong. If there was something fundamentally different about high-tech Taiwanese business, then I’ll listen, but there isn’t anything that I can see.

        Also having students think they know what middle/working class people want annoys people in middle/working class people. If you see someone in a high tech industry that is strongly pro-CSSTA, it’s better to find out why, than to tell them they are being deceived. The assumption that the fu-mao students likely have is that once people realize that they are being lied to, they’ll join the students. That doesn’t seem to be happening, so you really need to ask why people do seem to support fu-mao.

        As far as the impact of China, an open referendum on independence is already impossible. If China can’t use economic means to prevent it, it will use military force, and the US will put pressure on Taiwan to cancel the refererendum. We’ve already been through this with Chen Shui-Bian.

        If Taiwan wants to keep autonomy then it needs to make itself essential to the Mainland economy and balance China with other countries. I don’t see how killing CSSTA will help things. Hong Kong has leverage against the Mainland because Hong Kong has money. I don’t see how making Taiwan poor will help it resist Mainland pressure.

        I was *shocked* at how strong anti-CSSTA beliefs were among college students in Taiwan. This isn’t the case with college students in HK or the United States. Over the last week, I’ve been listening very closely to see if I’ve been mistaken about opinions in other sectors of Taiwanese society, but I don’t seem to be.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        He can’t be vague – he doesn’t have to convince you, he has to convince the rest of the public, and I hate to say it but you’re wrong about public opinion.

        Killing Fu Mao will help things in that a better treaty can be negotiated. I’m not anti-trade, I’m not anti-services liberalization. I’m anti-Fu Mao because I think it’s not been fully explained to the public, and what I do know of it sure sounds like it’ll allow Chinese interests to buy Taiwan part & parcel.

        Which the Chinese government will encourage, just as it did in its own provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet when it wanted to assert control.

        The problem with your argument is that you don’t seem to think China will try to use economic force to push Taiwan into accepting annexation (I refuse to call it unification, they are not two parts of a whole). But you know, I know and everyone else with half a brain knows they will.

        I do think it will also help to kill Fu Mao in that Fu Mao, as it seems to be worded now, will allow major Chinese companies to compete with small and medium-sized Taiwanese firms. If you’re in Hong Kong that may sound fine but if you’re a small to medium size firm in Taiwan, that looks a lot like going out of business. At the very least it’ll force you to cut costs, first by cutting employees or their salaries (or both).

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        And I don’t think that just because a referendum on independence is impossible now that it will always be so.

        But it will be if we sell out economically to China first.

        What’s more, I just don’t want to live in a country whose character has changed to be more like China’s. I left China because it sucked. I’m not interested in living in Hong Kong because life there sucks. You can offer me all the economic benefits, higher salaries, prosperity etc. in the world and I won’t take it if I have to accept terrible living conditions and a boss I hate (politically as well as in work).

        So even if Fu Mao does “work” (and I highly doubt it will, and plenty of economists agree with me), it will produce such an influx of Chinese influence that Taiwan will be all but unlivable…and I may find myself leaving, as much as I don’t want to.

        Rather like my last job before I went “rogue”: I quite enjoyed the work, but my boss and the working environment were toxic, so I had to give up something I loved (the work itself) because the toxic elements made it unbearable.

        That could – probably will – be Taiwan under Fu Mao: I’ll have to give up something I love (my life in Taiwan, my friends, my freelance career here, my beloved apartment, and my husband has a job here too which is a consideration) because the toxic “boss” (China) and ‘work environment’ (a Taiwan changed irrevocably by Chinese influence) will make it impossible to stay and be happy.

        Either way I just pray the KMT doesn’t get re-elected. They don’t listen to the public, and as someone whose family was run out of Turkey thanks to a genocide the government has never acknowledged nor apologized for, I can’t forgive that horrid party for the genocide they perpetrated in Taiwan. It’s very biased of me, sure, but I detest them in a way I can’t even adequately express without spitting.

  9. Jenna Cody Says:

    Another thing I’ve noted from this is that in recent history both President Ma and President Chen seem to have thought that once elected, they could do whatever they want and public opinion didn’t matter.

    Ma is now learning a very harsh lesson in how not true that is.

    And I love it.

    But I do think in the end the people will realize that Fu Mao is good for the wealthy and large businesses and not good for them, and will want it killed. It may still survive as politicians won’t necessarily heed public opinion, but I don’t think it will enjoy broad public support and may in fact be one of the catalysts that drives in a DPP government in 2016 (I can only hope – it’s time for a change).

    • joequant2013 Says:

      And I don’t think that is going to happen. What I think is going to happen is that the students are going to find that they are more out of touch with public opinion than the KMT or DPP are. Politicians have to go through an election. Students can represent themselves, but they can’t represent other people.

      We’ll see what happens. I was very worried last week, but I think it will be the students that are in for a big disappointment.

      This is going to be a big problem for the DPP. The trouble is that in order to get elected the DPP has to convince people that they won’t kill trade agreements, and if they do that, you’ll get students angry at being “double-crossed.”

      Also, comparing the KMT with the Republicans is I think apt. One thing that happened with the occupy movement is that they’ve been really annoyed at Obama, because the Democrats in the end side with Wall Street, and I see the same thing happening with the DPP.

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        From my observation of public opinion, the students are not as out of touch as you think they are. Sorry.

        I honestly feel that in order to get elected the DPP simply has to convince the populace that the trade agreements it will agree to don’t such (like Fu Mao), and that it won’t sell Taiwan out to China (like Ma).

      • Jenna Cody Says:

        *suck, not such.

  10. frozengarlic Says:

    As more data rolls in, it looks like the police were a bit more violent than I initially realized. I would not go so far as to say that police brutality was widespread or the modal behavior. However, it looks like they crossed the line to excessive violence more frequently than I had originally thought.

  11. Michael Turton Says:

    “”That doesn’t seem to be happening, so you really need to ask why people do seem to support fu-mao.””

    The public does not support the Fu-Mao and it never has. Prior to the protests, support for the pact was at 32% in the staid old, mildly pro-KMT TISR poll.

    The rabidly pro-KMT TVBS now has support for the students at 51%, with 18% support for this dog of a trade pact, and 63% wanting a renegotiation. Public disapproval of the police attack on the protesters is 56%, even though they also disproved of the EY occupation.

    “I was *shocked* at how strong anti-CSSTA beliefs were among college students in Taiwan. This isn’t the case with college students in HK or the United States. “”

    I can’t imagine why you are shocked. You claim to paying attention to the economy, but obviously you’re not. Wages are at 1998 levels. Graduating students work long hours for little money. Because of the housing bubble driven by the low taxes on property, they cannot afford homes in Taipei. Often they have to contemplate leaving Taiwan and working in China, which most would rather not do. Most students will experience lower relative living standards then their parents. They will also see Chinese streaming into Taiwan.

    ” I don’t see how making Taiwan poor will help it resist Mainland pressure”

    It won’t. And this pact will impoverish Taiwan, which is why it should not be passed.

    Michael Turton

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      *just piping in to voice my support for Michael’s view*

      By the way, I’m not sure at all why people think Fu Mao is the only possible way to negotiate a trade pact with China. Fu Mao may suck, and free trade may be something to approach carefully, but the idea of free trade/services liberalization is not something most people in Taiwan dismiss out of hand. Not even I’m against it (although I’m wary of totally free trade: everything needs balance, and “free” trade still needs strong regulations).

      Dislike of Fu Mao runs high – I think Joe’s deluding himself when he says most people will get behind it if they haven’t already – but dislike of trade/liberalization does not.

      I don’t see why being against Fu Mao (which I am) means one must be against “trade” (which I’m not, per se).

      I just want to see a pact that doesn’t blow horse poop for Taiwan. One that better protects the real estate market (a speculative market like Hong Kong’s, thanks to China, would be a disaster for Taiwan), purchase of media outlets (goodbye free press!) and other mechanisms in place to see that China doesn’t use this to grab enough of Taiwan’s economy to hold it politically hostage (which you know they’ll do – because THEIR GOAL IS NOT FREE TRADE, IT IS ANNEXATION).* One that is made fully public and the entire public is consulted on – from wage-earners to academics to business-owners of every size.

      *sorry for shouting.

      (I’m not really sorry)

      • joequant2013 Says:

        The problem is that the way that Ma has gone about negotiating a trade pact with the Mainland is the standard way of negotiating a trade pact with anyone. The idea of free-trade/liberalization is not something that people will dismiss out of hand, but when you get into the details of how to negotiate these sorts of pacts, then what Ma did with the Mainland is what something you find is essential when dealing with anyone.

        The other issue with trade pacts is that usually most people don’t care. Whether a trade pact passes depends on how many people *love* the pact, and how many people *hate* the pact. One other thing that happens with trade pacts is that once they pass, people that *love* the pact tend to keep it in place so it is hard to undo.

  12. Michael Turton Says:

    Excellent post, Froze. I’d have been commenting before, but WordPress seems to have locked me out. So I stopped, but now I realize I can sign in with G+. Now you’re in trouble 🙂


    • frozengarlic Says:

      Maybe WordPress has a vendetta against people who use Blogger. Sounds like a question of respect for sovereignty vs. irredentism to me.

    • Jenna Cody Says:

      So the policies of wordpress vis-a-vis blogger are like China vis-a-vis Taiwan – join us or we’ll lock you out of everything, and don’t you dare complain when we throw you a moldy bone. Don’t you like mold? You would have been worse off without it, you know, so it’s necessary. I know that because some KM – – I mean wordpress press release said so. Now don’t you want to join us?

  13. frozengarlic Says:

    One thing that I hadn’t thought about very carefully was the need to clear the EY complex by dawn. The police could have continued to pry protesters apart one by one, making very slow progress, but they weren’t going to get the job done by dawn. They brought the water cannons in to speed things up. Why did they need to get it done by dawn? If they had gotten orders to clear the complex using an absolute minimum of force and taking as much time as necessary, they might have been able eschew using the water cannons. However, Ma and Jiang demanded the operation be completed by dawn, and this edict required higher levels of force. Thus, using higher levels of force was an explicitly political decision.

  14. joequant2013 Says:

    Also, I haven’t been following Taiwan politics or economics for the last year or two, because I’ve been extremely busy trying to get my one-person company in Hong Kong off the ground. This is a real problem for political participation because having other things to do really reduces your ability to be politically active, and I have a software release that been delayed because of this.

    It looks like “something reasonable” is going to happen. I don’t think that the finance/it parts of the pact are going to get killed, and I think its rather likely that the pact will be ratified, probably as part of a more general package.

  15. Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement Says:

    […] Analysis of state coercive power and non-violent protest, Frozen Garlic […]

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    […] and persisted – despite the trials of March 24, when riot police used force to decisively end an attempt to occupy the Executive Yuan, and even after April 2, when notorious “former” gangster Chang An-le […]

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