Taiwan Church News
July 29 - August 4, 2013
Taiwan Citizens Stood Out In Flood, Opposing the Service Trade Agreement in Black Box
Reported by Lin Yi-ying
After the signature of the Cross Strait Service Trade Agreement(TSA) on June 21st by Ma administration, waves of protests surged within Taiwan society. In the night of July 27th, Taiwan Professor Association(TPA) held a protest assembly on Ketagalan Avenue, demanding "Anti Black Box Negotiation, Let Us Survive"! Also, in the night of July 28th before the Legislative Yuan, 19 citizen groups led by Taiwan Labor Union held a grand convention called "Night of Democratic Solidarity", chanting the slogans of "Reject the Agreement, Reopen the Negotiation" and "Stand Out All Walks Of Lives, Defend Our Rights To Survive".
Many PCT clerics, like Director Ng Tiat-gan of PCT Research and Development Center, Evangelist Yeh Chin-an of PCT Ecumenical and International Committee and Rev. Cheng Kuo-chon of Justice Action Church, took part in these assemblies and expressed their concern. On July 9th at the 2nd Central Committee, PCT General Secretary Rev. Lyim Fong-tiong also urged all Taiwan churches come together and concern this issue.
What kind of impact that TSA would bring to Taiwan? And how serious it is? First time ever street protester, Prof. Cheng Hsiu-ling, a respected econ0mics academics from Taiwan University, told the truth that Ma administration wished to cover up. She said, Ma government said only 64 items of services would be affected by TSA, actually thousands of produces and professions would be incurred. People can see how serious such an impact is! Also, she said it frankly, as this TSA was signed up without a previous notice to Taiwan people, once it would get passed in congress, Taiwan society has to swallow up many bitter fruits that they have never imagined. For example, the most obvious one as labor market; health care system could be crushed; freedom of speech could be curtailed; the national security would thus be endangered.
For Ma administration, the TSA is a holy cow and would deem any change as blashephemous even one word. "No, [TSA] could be changed!", said Prof. Cheng, based on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by US and South Korea in 2006. Both US and Suth Korea had serious disagreements on the issues of American beef and automobile after signing the agreement, yet they spend 5 years to discuss and negotiate in order to run that treaty smooth. So, there is no urgency to execute TSA right away. Moreover, this agreement is amendable!
Rev. Cheng Kuo-chon expressed, it is an undeniable reality that Taiwan's major manufacture have nearly moved out to China, and a further open of our service industry would certainly weaken our economics. He urged Taiwan church pastors and believers to show their concern about the black box operation during signing this TSA, as it put the interest of Taiwan people in jeopardy. He also stressed that we must not put Taiwan's sovereignty in danger.
Yeh Dah-hwa, who is an elder of Peace Island Presbyterian Church and also acting as general secretary of Taiwan Juvenile League, very worried about the TSA impact toward 20,000 more high school students financially supported by Taiwan enterprises. Once Chinese technicians and experts are allowed to enter Taiwan, these students would become more marginal and vulnerable to be replaced or fired. Especially these students most come from families with weak economic incomes.
Translated by Peter Wolfe
Citizens Flood in the Taipei Streets to protest the Service Trade Agreement in Black Box Negotiation.
Photo by Lin Yi-ying