On Saturday, August 16, Sunflower student movement leaders Yoshi Liu (劉敬文), Wu Hsueh-chan (吳學展) and others officially announced the formation of the Formoshock Society (福爾摩鯊會社) at a public event held near National Taiwan University.
According to Liu, the Formoshock Society will focus on promoting Taiwan’s independence and issues relating to the economy. The Formoshock Society will also work with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), a pro-independence political party founded by former president Lee Teng-hui, to endorse young people to run in local ward and council elections in the upcoming November elections.
Yoshi Liu was an undergraduate student at National Taiwan University and a graduate student at National Yang Ming University. He was a legislative aide to DPP legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) and participated in the Wild Strawberry Movement in 2008 and the Sunflower Movement earlier this year.
The members of the Formoshock Society are a group of the Sunflower student demonstrators who were part of the Anti Media Monopoly Youth Alliance, which was formed in 2012 by students, including Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷), the head representatives of the Sunflower Movement. The Anti Media Monopoly Youth Alliance stopped the Want Want Group, a snack foods conglomerate with close ties to China, from acquiring a large cable distribution company in Taiwan. The Want Want Group had previously in 2008 purchased one of the four major daily newspapers, the China Times, and has led the editorial direction towards a more pro-China stance.
Liu and Wu were part of the decision making core group during the occupation of the parliament floor in March. Liu, however, eventually left the core group, citing disagreements with Lin and Chen.
Since the end of the parliament occupation, Liu’s supporters have often differed on key issues with those of Lin and Chen. Liu’s goal is primarily Taiwanese nationalism and national security, while Lin and Chen emphasize procedural justice and civil rights. Most recently, the two groups exchanged arguments on social media over a PRC foreign student named Clover Tsai (蔡博藝) running for student president at Tamkang University. Chen Wei-ting has openly endorsed allowing Chinese nationals to run for student body positions, and has specifically vouched for Tsai as a long time ally of Taiwan’s social activists. Responding to Chen, Liu said that as long as China remains hostile to Taiwan, special restrictions for PRC nationals are justified on national security concerns, and that anyone who believes Taiwan’s democracy is strong enough to withstand Chinese infiltration is “naive.”
While Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting are seen as the public symbols of the movement, and are often considered the undisputed leaders of the student activists, some see Liu as a radical provocateur who frequently stirs up controversy with his sharp criticism. After the announcement on Saturday night, the newly formed Formoshock staff went to karaoke; according to Wu’s Facebook comment, “Yoshi’s mouth is mostly used to yell at people, who knew it can be used for singing as well?”
(Feature photo of the Formoshock Society staff, Yoshi Liu is last row, third from left. Provided by Formoshock Society.)