Can the NPP transform the island’s youth movement into something lasting?
Date: November 19, 2015
By: Lorand C. Laskai
TAIPEI — Early on the morning of Nov. 4, the day after news leaked in early November that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou would meet his mainland Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the first meeting of its kind in more than 60 years, members of the newly-formed New Power Party (NPP) staged a protest in front of Taiwan’s legislature. “Ma has no authority to represent our people at this meeting,” Huang Kuo-chang, a 42-year-old law professor turned activist, yelled over a microphone, as young volunteers behind him held a banner that read “Recall Ma Ying-jeou.”
The NPP marks an attempt to channel into an electable political platform the energy and frustration of youthful activists that came to political consciousness under the Ma administration. Over the last eight years, the Kuomintang (KMT) government under Ma has steered the self-governing island of 23 million closer to China, which lists reunification with Taiwan among the mainland’s core interests. Ma’s policy stands at odds with growing fear of mainland Chinese influence, and is a major factor in his abysmal approval ratings. Last year, during the Sunflower movement, students and activists, including Huang, occupied Taiwan’s legislature in protest of a controversial trade pact with China. Now, activists like Huang that have opposed Ma’s Beijing-friendly agenda on the streets are trying something new: running for legislative seats. [FULL STORY]