Occupy Hong Kong Meets Occupy Taiwanese Parliament

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 1/14/2015 01:30:00 AM
Do we need another hero? Sticking it to the mainland sympathizers.
There is a saying that "the market" takes the brunt of the blame in capitalist countries when economic times are sour, while "the state" does in communist countries. In East Asia, there is another, rather more sinister offshoot at work--blame the PRC. We received a taste of this with the backlash against Hong Kong-based tycoons being perceived as the key mediators in the relation between that special administrative region and the mainland some weeks back. Well, guess what: largely the same things are happening in Taiwan at the moment as President Ying-Jeou is perceived as being too close to the PRC. Just as disaffected youths closed down Hong Kong's main thoroughfares for months on end, so too is there a youth backlash in Taiwan:
A 26-year-old graduate student is widely considered the spokesman for Taiwan's under-30 set, a generation struggling amid poor job prospects, stagnant wages and rising economic inequality. Lin Fei-fan is also one of the island's brightest political stars, thanks to his strong anti-China stance. He may well go on to influence cross-strait relations and even the democratic movement in Hong Kong, though he has not said whether he plans to run for public office..

Nicknamed God Fan by his supporters, Lin made his name as a frontman of the Sunflower Movement, a mass anti-Beijing rally that started in late March and saw a group of students occupy the island's legislative chamber for three weeks. The students were protesting the Nationalist government's efforts to push through a services trade deal with China.
It's another sign of disaffection with cottoning up to the mainland and supposedly accepting a subordinate political position relative to it as a result:
The Sunflower movement and the election results reflect growing public unease with Ma's direction. While the president has claimed his mainland initiatives are necessary for Taiwan's economic survival, many now think the 21 pacts he has signed with Beijing have benefited only big conglomerates, while hurting small businesses and undermining the island's de facto sovereignty.

The widespread fear of China gaining sway in Taiwan largely stems from Beijing's refusal to abandon its claim on the island, even though it has been 65 years since the two sides split in a civil war.
The parallels to Occupy Hong Kong are unavoidable since, well, both sides coordinate with each other to some extent:
"If China doesn't abandon its goal to have complete control of Taiwan and Hong Kong," Lin said, "it will only lead to more conflicts. Taiwan's civil society has gradually formed a consensus that we can no longer tolerate China's approach." Lin added that activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong keep in touch and learn from each other's experiences.
As with Hong Kong, I would understand their cause better if they took some time to distinguish between PRC-inflicted difficulties and those largely the creation of the Taiwanese government. As it stands, though, I think the PRC has become something of an all-purpose bogeyman: "whatever ails East Asian economies, the PRC is probably behind it" does not seem to be an especially sophisticated argument. Like many alter-globalization groups, this one appears diffuse and unfocused.