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Ma Ying-jeou, protest leaders should quit while they are ahead
Publication Date : 03-04-2014
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou looks like a pushover who is afraid of disciplining his little wayward and unruly brats.
Since protesters from the Sunflower student movement climbed the fence to sneak into the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan and hijack the Legislature on March 18, Ma has made concession after unworthy concession to appease them — so much so that they have become increasingly grandiose, to the extent that they dared to launch a march of Blackshirts Sunday to expand their occupation to Ketagalan Avenue Boulevard, the Presidential Mansion and Chungshan South Road.
The only right thing President Ma did was to have the Black Island Nation Youth Front hijackers evicted from the Executive Yuan, and even that rightful eviction was widely criticised as one by violent force.
Carried away by the successful surprise attack on the government house, Sunflower leader Lin Fei-fan declared war again on the Ma government and vowed to fight it to the last until he wins.
He overplayed his hand. He had better learn that he must quit while he's ahead. The writing is on the wall for the Sunflower student activists.
Top business leaders are coming out in support of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement the student activists demand the government scrap. Even the American Chamber of Commerce in Kaohsiung expressed support for the trade pact, while the Allied Association for Hsinchu Science Park Industries called on the students to end the occupation of the Legislative Yuan's Assembly Hall. On Saturday, one day before the march of Blackshirts, more than 10,000 people took to the streets in Taipei to urge the Sunflower student activists to go home.
Close to 7,000 took part in a “Carnation embraces Sunflower” demonstration at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, only 800 metres away from the Legislative Yuan.
Participants were family members of police officers and Taipeiites who do no like the activists breaking the law by occupying the Legislature. Another rally took place at Taipei station, where around 3,000 demonstrators gathered to demand that the Sunflower activists give the Legislature back to the people.
Each with a carnation in hand, they called on Sunflower student demonstrators to return home and expressed their appreciation of the police for keeping order around the nation's highest legislative organ.
The demonstrations were organised by the White Justice Social Union whose spokesman Eric Chou, an associate professor of economics from Tsing Hua University, said the activists do not speak for the people and the Legislative Yuan cannot remain paralysed by their occupation.
Demonstrators were university students and working adults. The march of Blackshirts shouldn't have been launched.
President Ma agreed to comply with all the Sunflower demonstrators' demands except the retraction of the trade pact, which has been stalled in the Legislature for more than nine months since it was signed in Shanghai on June 21 last year thanks to the opposition of the Democratic Progressive Party. It's time to call it quits.
If Lin Fei-fan doesn't, he won't be able to keep what he has won.
After the demonstration of Blackshirts, public support for the Sunflower movement will taper off.
His war on the Ma government may be lost. He should remember a good old English adage: “Quit while you're ahead.”