Sunflower protest slowed down nation: Industry

Sunflower protest slowed down nation: Industry
A woman sits next to a doll with sunflowers attached to its hand during a rally commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Sunflower Movement demonstrations in Taipei on March 18, 2015.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A group of top business leaders said yesterday that improvement in Taiwan's political climate following last year's student Sunflower Movement has been too slow.

"Over the past year Taiwan has improved, but there hasn't been enough improvement," Lin Por-fong, chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said on the first anniversary of a student demonstration against a China-Taiwan trade-in-services pact.

Lin spoke to press yesterday at the Third Wednesday Club, a networking association with members from 65 leading national conglomerates.

He said he has no objections to last year's Sunflower Student Movement. Taiwan is a pluralistic society and it is very normal for the youth to voice opinions, he said, adding that protests should be conducted by legal means.

Asked whether Taiwan has changed or improved since last year's demonstration, Lin replied that there has been some improvement but not enough.

"(Protestors) spoke of not wanting black-box negotiations, and so the supervisory act must pass. It has been a year and the act has not passed - it has been delayed," he said.

The Legislature should approve the bill as soon as possible, for it can "rapidly deliver concrete results," Lin said.

Lin was referring to the Cabinet's Cross-Strait Agreement Supervisory Act, which is coming up for review once again after failing to clear the Legislative Yuan in past sessions.

The proposal, first submitted on April 3, 2014 in response to the student protest, requires the Executive Yuan to report regularly to the Legislature on trade negotiations with China.

Still Frail

At yesterday's club convention, Chinese National Federation of Industries chairman Rock Hsu said that Taiwan's democratic politics remain unhealthy and unstable.

Whenever a ruling party in Taiwan falls out of power, it behaves as a voice of opposition instead of a party that is invested in the country's future, he said.

"The opposition party does not literally need to be a party of opposition. It can make a new political platform to show that it can outperform the ruling party," Hsu said.

On the Protest

Asked to comment on last year's student demonstration, Third Wednesday Club chairman Chiang Pin-kung said some protestors had acted under a "misunderstanding" of the trade-in-services agreement.

Chiang said it is good for youth to be exposed to national affairs, but that some "had a bit of a misunderstanding" that the impact of the pact would be negative.

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