Friday, 4 April 2014

Taiwan struggles in China’s trade grip

Islanders fear trade in services pact with Beijing will swallow their economy

One of the most peculiar exercises of democracy in history has been unfolding over the past two weeks in Taiwan — a country known for its quirky politics.

Thousands of demonstrators took over the Taiwanese parliament building on March 18 to forestall the ruling party from passing a trade-in-services agreement with China that threatens to integrate the island’s economy with China‘s. They are still there.

It is peculiar for three reasons: First, it’s the first time in democratic Asia that a parliament building has been taken over by peaceful protesters without a coup, junta or tank in sight. Second, the demonstrators have the tacit approval of most parliamentarians themselves. Third, the U.S. State Department seems to be enjoying the spectacle.

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