Taiwan activists clash with police over China pact

Taiwan activists clash with police over China pact

TAIPEI - Dozens of Taiwanese pro-independence activists clashed with police during a protest Tuesday against an agreement to further open up service sector trade with China as lawmakers debated the pact.

Chanting "Opposing the trade service agreement, safeguarding sovereignty", demonstrators attempted to push their way through a police cordon around parliament in Taipei.

Others tried to climb over the fence but were grabbed and pulled down by police. Two demonstrators were injured including a woman in her 70s, who fell and was hospitalised, the activist groups said.

"The pact will bring huge negative impacts on Taiwan's economy and lots of people will subsequently lose their jobs, but few people are aware of this," activist leader Tsai Ting-kui told AFP. Under the agreement signed in June, China will open 80 of its service sectors to Taiwanese companies, while Taiwan will in turn allow Chinese investment in 64 service sectors.

The pact is one of the follow-up agreements to the sweeping Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in 2010 to reduce trade barriers between China and Taiwan.

Taiwan's China-friendly Kuomintang government said the pact would help lift the island's economy but the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opposed it, saying it would hurt Taiwan's smaller service companies.

Lawmakers debated the agreement Tuesday but are not due to vote to ratify it until September.

China still considers Taiwan part of its territory although the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

Relations have warmed since Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang party came to power in 2008 on a platform of beefing up trade and tourism links. He was re-elected in January 2012.


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