DPP ultimatum to Ma: demand substantial review, restart negotiations with China

March 20 – The DPP held an international press conference today, sending an ultimatum to President Ma Ying-jeou and warning that this will be the last draw the DPP is withstanding ways the KMT administration is forcing the passage of the Cross Strait Services Trade Agreement.

Chair Su: the DPP is not against free trade with China

DPP Chair Su Tseng-chang, as leader of the party, stressed to the international media that the DPP is not against free trade with China, a label that the KMT keeps repeating as a smear tactic.

While preparing for the supposed item by item review and deliberation of the agreement, the DPP had issued four standpoints, which were: (1) equal opening, (2) fair competition, (3) safeguarding the people’s livelihood and (4) ensuring national security. The DPP had made this clear to the KMT hoping that they would stick to the promises made on June 25th of last year.

DPP will stand by student groups protesting in parliament

From the beginning, the way the KMT conducted the negotiations were extremely secretive and non-transparent. This week, the KMT Legislative Caucus through its chairman of the committee in charge of deliberation, Mr. Chang Ching-chung, announced in three seconds that the agreement would move immediately to the plenary. Because of such decision, student groups, professors and people from all circles of life decided to take on to the streets and express their dissatisfaction. They have also barricaded themselves in parliament and some have vowed to go on hunger strike until the government changes its stance.

“This is a key moment for me and my party to improve our democracy,” Chair Su said.

Chair Su reported that international media has widely covered this issue, some saying that Taiwan is facing a challenge to its democracy with titles such as “Dead or Reborn” to characterize Taiwan’s current situation. He said that just as in the past, Taiwan had to resort to sit-ins outside parliament in order to achieve our democratic achievements, but this is the first time that student groups in Taiwan have taken control of parliament. He said that the students now represent a shield to our democracy by blocking the Ma’s administration use of authoritarian methods to force on us a trade agreement with China.

Chair Su expressed his appreciation to the support of international friends, who like in the past, had issued their condemnation of the KMT government’s suppressing actions. Now, they are once again standing out to protect Taiwan’s democracy.

Holding a picture of students holding a large sign that read “[a] 9% President Ma forced the parliament to pass [the] Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services within 3 seconds”, Chair Su said that this is the result of his China-inclined policy, a term he said was labeled by the international media on the Ma administration.

Next steps: DPP will mobilize the entire country to support student groups

Chair Su said the next steps for the DPP will be to mobilize more people from across the nation to surround parliament in support of the students’ demands. He said that the DPP yesterday, through its Central Standing Committee statement, had also made three demands to President Ma:

1)      President Ma must immediately apologize and promise not to commit this mistake again;

2)      The KMT must respect the negotiation procedure at the Legislative Yuan, in which a deal was made between the KMT and the opposition parties, and according to their initial promises of reviewing the agreement item by item, they must immediately now fully agree to renegotiate the agreement.

3)      The police must absolutely not take any violent action against student groups expressing their opinions and ensure for their protection and safety.