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Violent protest broke out in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, over a controversial trade deal with China, when thousands of demonstrators stormed the parliament building, demanding their leaders to revoke the accord as it is viewed as harmful to the future of the island.
Scores of agitated protesters against the Cross Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) came on to the streets, voicing their objection to entering into a new trade pact with China. The pact was signed last year and is meant to ease trade and investment between mainland China and Taiwan. According to Yahoo news, authorities said 58 protesters were arrested and that 137 were injured, including 24 critically injured who were hospitalized.
The protests took a dramatic turn when the ultimatum announced by the dominant group opposing the pact with China, requested the government to dump the deal before their deadline, March 20, but the government never took it seriously and the deadline passed which fueled the protesters and demonstrations went berserk. According to Reuters, A protester and engineer by profession, Liou Jong-yuan, said “China is using economic methods to invade Taiwan.”
“Regional economic integration is an unstoppable global trend. If we do not face this and join in the process, it will only be a matter of time before we are eliminated from the competition. For the sake of nation’s development, we truly have no choice,” President Ma Ying Jeou said, according to the CNN.
On the contrary, the Taiwanese people view this deal as a move which will make their economy “dependent on China” rather being beneficial. Per this agreement both countries are allowed to invest but people opposing this agreement say, that the magnitude of Chinese investments in Taiwan will damage small businesses.
According to CNN news, the proposed agreement between the two countries will allow China to exert greater influence over the island through investments in “sensitive and core industries,” including those associated with press freedom such as publishing and advertising.
The relationship between China and Taiwan has been characterized by tensions, instability and lack of harmony over the last 60 years but ever since President Ma Ying Jeou formed government, signs of a healthier relationship began to appear.
Since his election in 2008, President Ma has moved Taiwan away from independence-leaning policies and sought closer tourism and trade ties with China, the Bloomberg reported.In 2009 the two countries achieved a landmark agreement when both agreed to stabilize their financial relationship by allowing both Taiwanese and Chinese financial organizations to operate in each other’s territory.
In recent years Taiwanese economy has grown exponentially without Chinese involvement, driven by fast-paced, dynamic policies that promotes infrastructure, education, technological advancement, and trade relations that precisely mobilize the true potential of the island, transforming Taiwan into the world’s leading export-based economy.
Globally, Taiwan’s tremendous and unparalleled economic success is highly celebrated and even today it remains a model for prosperity and a blue print of economic planning. Dubbed “an economic miracle,” the advances Taiwan has achieved over the course of the last half century still remains preeminent and there is little empirical evidence showcasing similar massive changes in the economy of any country the world over.
But perhaps the central issue related to CSSTA is the fact that economically weak Taiwanese businesses will be adversely affected as this pact opens the doors to economically more powerful Chinese firms to operate in Taiwan. This might naturally produce disappointing results rather than the estimated benefits to the country. Nevertheless, the hope is that the Taiwanese government moves in a direction that helps its economy and satisfies its population.
Image credit: hkcolumn.blogspot.dk