One of the student leaders during the Sunflower Movement Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) was interviewed by Taipei-based magazine Wealth (財訊), and explained in detail his outlook on the future, for the first time since the student occupation of Taiwan’s parliament in March.
On March 18th, student and NGO demonstrators stormed into Taiwan’s parliament building, and occupied the parliamentary floor for 21 days, to protest against the Cross-Straits Services Trade Agreement between Taiwan and China, and the way in which President Ma Ying-jeou’s government tried to ratify the treaty in Parliament on a legal technicality.
Two spokespersons emerged as the public faces of the movement. Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) was known for protesting against land expropriations in his hometown Miaoli, and for a fiery speech criticizing a Minister of Education that won him both fans and detractors. Lin himself was a leader in the 2012 protests against media monopolies and Chinese influence on freedom of speech.
In his interview with Wealth, Lin explained his take on the future of Taiwan after the Sunflower Movement.
On the political landscape, he said that the civic groups from the protest will continue to organize on a grassroots level in their own areas, and that they see both main political parties, the KMT and the DPP, as competitors. On oversight of free trade and free market economic policies, Lin said that they do not want to see further liberalization, and called for “tax reforms, improve labor conditions such as raising the minimum wage, and focus on local economies” to better distribute the wealth. According to Taiwan’s official statistics bureau, Taiwan’s income disparity rose through 1980 to 2000 and has stayed steady since.
On his support for Taiwan independence, he said that in essence he is talking about constitutional reform. “Taiwan’s system of governance is not normal,” he said, “and to be independent means to actually give people a better way to exercise their sovereignty.” He advocated for amending the referendum law and electoral rules. Both the DPP and a group supported by former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung have been advocating for amending the constitution to make it easier for new political parties and candidates to win seats in parliament.
As to whether he himself will run for office, Lin said, “I’m just a student, let me finish my dissertation and graduate first.”
(Feature photo by J Michael Cole)