2024 Parliamentary Clashes - Forced Legislation and Subsequent Protests

Checks and balances in Taiwan come down to shoe throwing and elementary school level embarrassment. Protests still unit the people. I don’t think they work, but if the government is more petty and immature than the society, what would we expect pissed off people do? Maybe we can also put nails in walls to kill people like the CKMT. Or punch people like the DPP. That seems productive?

I’m embarrassed sometimes by the actions of our “leaders”.

https://x.com/michaelturton/status/1797771514840023073

Has anyone been to the rally near the Taiwanese Parliament and support the democracy?





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as a foreigner on an arc I’m not entirely sure what forms of democratic engagement are actually allowed to me :thinking:

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I’m not sure either. There have been discussions about that sort of thing in the past, but I’m still not sure.

From 2005:

Foreign workers to stage rally on Sunday (this one doesn’t seem to discuss whether foreigner participation is allowed)

From 2008:

Are foreigners allowed to participate in political campaigns - #21 by maoman

From 2013:

Public protests and foreigners? - #4 by Mucha_Man

From 2014:

It it legal for us foreigners to stick our noses in Taiwan politics? or will that get us deported? - #27 by Feiren

From 2017:

How can somebody join a political party in Taiwan?

From 2018:

Is it legal for foreigners to help campaign?

From 2021:

What can be done to help our SEA friends currently suffering - #20 by Marco

From 2023:

How vocal are foreigners allowed to be when it comes to TW politics? (2023+ edition)

There may have been other discussions, but this is what I’ve been able to find at the moment.

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Yeah, I’d love to get involved with the traffic protests here in Taichung but personally getting deported is not high on the checklist right now

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As many forumosans anticipated, the Executive Yuan is sending back the KMT / TPP bill to the Legislative Yuan under the grounds that it is “difficult to implement” (meaning badly written and likely unconstitutional). The LY will have ten days to reconsider the bill, so we wait for the next move . . .

Guy

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Huh, a Taiwanese friend looked that up recently for me and she said it is no problem to participate as a foreigner.

Edit:
Looks like it has been extensively researched already as in previous post link and concluded it is legal generally:
It it legal for us foreigners to stick our noses in Taiwan politics?

A source outside the forum, a Taiwanese protest handbook that seems very well researched:
https://jrf-tw.gitbooks.io/protest-handbook/content/4-14.html
tldr:

  • if you have a residence title valid longer than 6 months, you can participate in rallies and protests.
  • There is a limit on this (公職人員選舉罷免法, Art. 56) which does not seem relevant here and is mostly target at Mainland Chinese/HK/Macao citizens.
  • In practice, enforcement might be random, and someone can use other laws to export you (“harmful to public order”)

My opinion:
Taiwan is the leading democracy in Asia. ‘Blue Bird’ protests / against the parliamentary reform proposed by KMT/TTP are actually supporting the current executive power/sitting president. Especially in Taipei the risk for a (non-Chinese) foreigner should be very minimal.

I think in any country participating in a demonstration bears some risk. But normally people go because they think fighting (within the restrictions of the law) is worth it.

I have seen quite a few foreigners on 526 in Taipei and there seemed to be no issue.

That said, when there is violence (kind of unthinkable for me in Taiwan unless instigated), please run as fast as you can.

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The last two cases in which I recall heads being cracked include: the Sunflower attempt (they failed) to move into the Executive Yuan; and the later “Sing, China” debacle on the National Taiwan University campus, in which the head cracking was administered by gangsters while Mayor Ko and the Taipei police shrugged their shoulders.

There might be others I’ve missed . . .

Guy

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sounds so much like the Yuen Long incident during the HK protest with the white “patriotic” mob hitting with stick the protesters coming back from Central at the Yuen Long MTR station, with police waiting for 40 minutes before moving in (when everyone left), CCTV footage from the station lost and the most disgraceful son of a female dog legislator Junius Ho going to congratulate the white mob calling them Motherland Defenders. Will never find bad enough names to call that cunt.

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It was a very similar playbook here.

Then Mayor Ko’s response to those events was eye opening. That was the day I stopped supporting him.

Guy

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I think I did not phrase that right. I mean if you storm a national congress of a country as a demonstrator - yes that will result in more violence :sweat_smile:

The “Sing! China” thing is really impressive, if someone else also wants to read up on it. Jesus Christ.:
CONTROVERSY REGARDING NTU SING!

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I think the fear comes from a long history of foreigners not being allowed to do certain things like this. Not so long ago, they sent locals to an island jail for it. There are books and museums created about just that. It has been changing in real ways in recent years, but many of us are wary and afraid of being public about our involvement. It’s not paranoia, just caution as it has long been fact. I think this holds true for quite a lot of people that are active in various political/governmental realms. It’s going to take a couple generations, at least, to shed the trauma.

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Analysis from Brian Hioe at New Bloom on some of the recent twists-and-turns, and the prominent role played by the KMT’s notorious Fu Kun-chi:

Guy

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I’m currently suffering from a mild case of information fatigue, but I promise I will read that article in the near future.

I would not place in this one in the “urgent” category; it’s more like an update on potential splits in the KMT. It appears some party members oppose the huge infrastructure bill included by KMT caucus whip Fu Kun-chi in the proposals that launched the protests. The report, then, is more like Hioe’s musing about palace intrigue within the KMT than a call-to-arms in which we need to alert @the_bear to return to Taipei immediately to catch more protests!

Guy

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A nice gift has arrived at the end of a long weekend: a new post by Academia Sinica’s Nathan Batto who in his most recent entry at Frozen Garlic tries to make sense of the KMT’s recent behavior. Full throated criticism of the DPP and a commitment to try to obstruct their agenda? That part is same-old-same-old. We’ve seen that a million times over the years. But something looks different this time. What could it be?

Batto writes:

Fu Kun-chi . . . seems like a departure from traditional KMT norms. He is THE traditional local politician. He’s nicknamed the King of Hualien, and he has a few corruption scandals under his belt [afterspivak’s note: Fu has spent time in jail for some of his financial crimes]. He is precisely [the] type of person who would have kept their head down in the past. But he seems to feel empowered free to act in the same way that, I don’t know, someone like Jaw Shao-kang might. Fu recently led a delegation of KMT legislators to China, apparently unconcerned with any blowback from society or the governing party. And now he’s pushing bills to increase the power of the legislature, roll back some of the DPP’s policies, and financially hamstring the government by directing massive funds to his own district. It’s quite an audacious agenda.

In the past, a supreme localist like Fu would have kept his head down. Yet here he is, loudly out front announcing and boasting about this and that. What happened?

Batto does not have direct answer, as this story is still in progress. But I find myself wondering if Fu is in 2024 simply acting like an agent for the PRC, much like Han did in his ill-fated run for the presidency in 2019-2020. The people of Taiwan got tired of Han, soundly rejected his presidential bid, and then—the icing on the cake—the people of K-Town got organized with a recall campaign and booted him out of the Kaohsiung Mayor’s chair.

I wonder if a similar (if not identical) fate awaits Fu.

Guy

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That would be much harder to achieve. Kaohsiung took a chance that one time and voted KMT, Hualien is deep blue and is simply voting as they always do. One can dream but I think this one will remain a dream.

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Oh I don’t mean to suggest that the electorate in Hualien will behave exactly like the electorate in K-Town. The latter of course brought us the Formosa Incident and so many other collective attempts to put Taiwan on another path (example: removing / repurposing their Dictator Hall without blinking). Hualien . . . let’s just say that county has not quite followed that script.

What I mean instead is this: there will be some political costs if the KMT continues in this direction. Fu does not have widespread national-level love or respect. His reputation is more like some sort of local gangster and crook. Eventually if this man continues to be the front man for the KMT, proposing all manner of self-interested policies, they will not make gains in the 2026 elections, and there will likely be some fallout, if not direct recalls of individual lawmakers. It’s nuts that this guy is acting like the face of the party.

Guy

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Nathan Batto articlse posted above is essential reading.

Turton also had an excellent piece explaining the nature of the proposed East Coas mega-projects and comparing them usefully to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis

cue Chewie…

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