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Thousands of resident’s protests outside Taiwan’s parliament

Thousands of resident’s protests outside Taiwan’s parliament

Thousands of resident’s protests outside Taiwan’s parliament

Thousands of resident’s protests outside Taiwan’s parliament

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  • Taiwan’s parliament passed a reform package to increase government oversight.
  • Opposition pushed for the reforms, which were opposed by the ruling party.
  • The DPP, led by Lai Ching-te, lost its majority in parliament.
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On Tuesday, thousands of people protested outside Taiwan’s parliament after it passed a reform package to increase oversight of the government. The opposition pushed for the reforms, which were opposed by the ruling party, but they did not have the numbers to block it.

Against a backdrop of broader concern about efforts by China, which views Taiwan as its territory, peaceful protests and sometimes violent confrontations in parliament over the reforms have been taking place.

Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidency in the January elections, but the party lost its majority in parliament. The Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan’s main opposition party, along with the small Taiwan People’s Party, collectively hold the most seats.

The parliament reforms grant lawmakers the power to request the disclosure of information deemed relevant by parliamentarians from the military, private companies, or individuals. They also criminalize contempt of parliament by government officials and mandate the president to provide regular reports to parliament and respond to lawmakers’ questions, marking a first for Taiwan.

The DPP alleges that the reforms were pushed through without proper consultation and criticizes their content as either vague or an overreach of power. On Tuesday, DPP lawmakers threw garbage bags and paper planes at their opposition counterparts. DPP parliament leader Ker Chien-ming addressed the chamber, stating, “You can seize parliament, but you cannot seize public opinion,” and added that Beijing had influenced Taiwanese politics.

Opposition lawmakers, holding sun-shaped balloons, shouted “Let sunlight into parliament.” Both parties adorned the chamber with banners. The KMT has denounced the DPP for attempting to “paint them red,” the color of China’s Communist Party, and accuses the DPP of attempting to hinder efforts to investigate corruption cases and spread unfounded fears about the reforms.

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Outside parliament, protesters showed their anger at the reforms being passed and also shouted “refuse Chinese political interference,” among other slogans.

“This is the people’s voice,” said Zheng Hung-gun, 33, who works in the food industry. “Taiwanese are not afraid of enemies from outside but we are worried about our internal enemies.”

On Friday night, tens of thousands crowded the roads around parliament to protest the reforms. Several senior KMT leaders have visited China this year, which the party claims is an effort to maintain open lines of communication. It denies being pro-Beijing. China refuses to engage in dialogue with Lai or the DPP, asserting that they are “separatists.” Lai insists that only Taiwan’s people can determine their future and has extended repeated offers for talks with China, all of which have been rebuffed.

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