Taiwan ‘Sunflower’ activists turn lawmakers in vote victory
By Amber Wang
Beijing not only has to contend with a new president in Taiwan who is wary of relations with China, but also a fresh batch of activists-turned-lawmakers from the island’s boisterous Sunflower Movement.
Protesters from the student-led movement that dramatically occupied the island’s parliament in 2014 over a trade pact with Beijing took their first step into mainstream politics after winning seats in parliamentary elections Saturday.
The activists’ success came on the night Taiwan voted in its first female president, Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which has traditionally campaigned for the island’s independence.
Both Tsai and the protesters’ victory is symbolic of growing public resistance to Beijing after a rapprochement under outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang which has sparked fears Taiwan’s sovereignty is being eroded.
“It’s our first election battle and we have a long way ahead of us,” said Huang Kuo-chang, an academic and leader of the Sunflower Movement who became a lawmaker Saturday. Read more