Protesters surround Taiwan parliament

Legislative Yuan

Some 30,000 Taiwanese demonstrators surrounded the Legislative Yuan, the island’s parliament, on May 21, one day after Lai Ching-te (William Lai) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was sworn in as president. They were protesting against the legislative majority’s attempts to enact new laws they say would unconstitutionally limit the power of the executive. Three days before the inauguration, physical conflict broke out among lawmakers on floor of the Legislative Yuan, with five briefly hospitalized. At the center of the controversy is a measure to create the new criminal offense of “contempt of the legislature,” imposing penalties even on the president for failure to cooperate with Yuan investigations.

The DPP, while winning the presidency, failed to maintain a legislative majority in the January election. Opposing parties, the Kuomintang and the Taiwan People’s Party formed a majority coalition in the legislature. The Kuomintang favors closer ties with China, while the DPP upholds Taiwan’s de facto independence. The protest at the Legislative Yuan evokes memories of the 2014 Sunflower Movement, when activists occupied the parliament chamber for 24 days to oppose a free trade agreement with China being pushed by the then-Kuomintang government. (Jurist, Jurist)

All this comes as Beijing has launched major new military exercises, clearly simulating preparations for an invasion of Taiwan. China surrounded Taiwan with navy vessels and aircraft on May 23 as part of the two-day military procedures, according to state media. Beijing stated that the military action is a warning against any moves toward formal Taiwan independence.

A representative for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said that the drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, center on “sea-air combat-readiness”  and precision strikes on strategic targets. (Jurist)

China’s Ministry of Commerce on May 20 announced sanctions against three US defense companies for selling arms to Taiwan, placing the companies on the “unreliable entities list.” According to a statement published by China’s State Council Information Office, the sanctioned companies are General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. (Jurist)

Photo: Kanshui0943 via WikimediaCommons

  1. 80,000 rally in Taiwan in protest against parliamentary reforms

    Nearly 80,000 demonstrators protested outside Taiwan’s parliament on May 24 to voice their dissent over controversial parliamentary reforms proposed by the opposition Kuomintang. The gathering was the third and largest rally around these reforms. (Jurist)

  2. Taiwan passes parliamentary reform amid protests

    Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed controversial parliamentary reforms on May 28 as 70,000 citizens assembled outside the parliament to protest against the changes. The cabinet, chaired by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will send back the legislation to the Legislative Yuan for review due to concerns about how the bill was passed and vague terminology. (Jurist)