This could be a crucial issue which cements the view for many that the DPP has not proven sufficiently different from the KMT on key issues such as cross-Strait relations.
The News Lens
By: Brian Hioe
The possibility of conflict breaking out between Taiwanese youth activists and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems quite likely in the near future, with discussion of an oversight bill for cross-strait trade deals scheduled for late next week. Namely, this bill was one of the significant demands of the Sunflower Movement, as a measure to prevent trade bills such as the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) from being passed into law without due discussion once again. At the time of the withdrawal from the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s Parliament, Kuomintang (KMT) majority speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) also agreed to such a bill being passed into law.
As the CSSTA was passed into law after only thirty seconds of discussion by KMT legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), the convenor of the responsible committee for the bill, activists hoped to prevent such events from happening again in the future through the oversight bill. Chang’s actions were perceived as an undemocratic measure on behalf of the KMT aimed at forcing the bill into law, never mind what the consensus of Taiwanese society was.
However, though the DPP rode into power on a wave of support from and backlash against the KMT from post-Sunflower youth activists and civil society groups, the DPP waffled on the issue of a cross-Strait oversight bill quite quickly after the 2016 presidential and legislative elections. In particular, controversy broke out in April 2016 when it was found that the DPP’s version of the bill did not differ very much from the KMT’s version of the bill, and a clause within the bill would have automatically ratified trade agreements which legislature failed to discuss within a specified timeframe.
As this was the logic which Chang used to justify forcing the CSSTA into law in March 2014, this clause was dubbed the “Chang Ching-Chung clause,” and the oversight bill was seen as not substantially differing from previous law. More broadly, the bill was seen as failing to provide the Taiwanese public the means to have oversight over cross-Strait bills which they had been promised by both the DPP and KMT. [FULL STORY]