Taiwan: One Year Later

A year after the Sunflower protesters occupied Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement with China remains on ice. The ruling Kuomintang has made no progress towards a "peace treaty" that would recognize Taiwan as part of China, never… Read moreTaiwan: One Year Later



Looking Back and Forward Through Sunflower-Colored Glasses


by Ian Rowen, American Citizens for Taiwan

Taiwan before the Sunflower Movement seems almost a bad and distant memory. Just a year ago, ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chang Ching-Chung was nearly able to ram the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) through the committee review process in 30 seconds. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-Pyng was facing expulsion from the KMT. President Ma Ying-jeou was still making serious efforts to meet with China President Xi Jinping and push a “peace treaty” that would recognize Taiwan as a part of China, never mind the wishes of its people.

All of that changed on March 18, 2014, when students and civil society stormed the Legislative Yuan. A day later, I climbed a ladder to join them inside the building for what I foolishly thought might be a quick research visit, but instead turned into one of the most harrowing and exhilarating episodes in not only the lives of myself and other eyewitnesses and participants, but in contemporary Taiwanese history. No one could have predicted how different the map would look a year later, after those 24 days of peaceful, student-led occupation led the island in a new direction.