This music you just played, it’s pretty nice to hear that. It describes this idea that when people are in love, they could just idle there, do nothing, but they still feel like they’re in love. The are content with their life, with a satisfaction in harmony with the environment.
This is actually a very popular sentiment in Taiwan, where in the recent years we’ve been promoting the cultural understanding that the kind of satisfaction — with artisan crafts and connection with local farmer’s markets and so-on, with services provided by your neighbors, with your neighbors, for your neighbors. This is a kind of economy that we’re building forward to.
However, in March 2014, the administration was talking with China, and China tried to have Taiwan sign a trade service agreement that will allow a lot of cross-strait service providers. China gave very good conditions, meaning that Taiwan people were being lured by the idea of earning a lot of money.
China was able to make lots of provinces become a larger base for the Taiwan service providers, in exchange for them to provide the same kind of service in Taiwan. This is, obviously, a diplomatic policy debate that you’re supposed to have, when we’re signing a trade agreement with another place.
For example, when Taiwan sign such agreements with New Zealand, Australia, or Japan, the Parliament is supposed to parley, to talk, to debate about the good and the bad part of such agreements, before we sign an agreement. However, the administration had the argument that says that Parliament has no say in this matter, because constitutionally, China is a part of Taiwan.
So because “China belongs to Taiwan” in the Taiwan constitution, such pacts would be considered a domestic issue. It’s like our national government signing a pact with a local government in Beijing. Because of that, the Parliament said, “OK, maybe we have no way of talking about this,” so they just did not debate about this.
This is, of course, unacceptable to most of the Taiwan people, because they would like to have a discussion before signing anything like that.
The Parliament, after having a series of public hearing where a lot of people — the doctors, the lawyers, the farmers —who went on and voiced their worries. The Parliament then said, “It’s not our duty to respond to any of these worries,” so they just passed the trade service agreement in 30 seconds. On that night, I was at the legislative building to support the protest that was on the street.
I was providing the Internet access so that everybody in their home can see what is going on in the protest. But what I did not know, was why the young person who lended me a laptop for the broadcast would said that he is not going to use the laptop anymore — it turns out that’s because he’s going to break the doors of the Parliament, and climb over the walls, and occupy the Parliament.
There were just about a hundred people who occupied Parliament at the time, and nobody was expecting it. Because we were already broadcasting the protest on the street, people in the g0v “Gov-Zero” movement supported with professional filming equipment that captured the entire progress of negotiating with the police, have an occupied space, which was pretty peaceful.
So in the next day when the mainstream media tried to paint the occupiers as mobsters, as violent people, as gangsters— as mainstream media always do — we have the footage, both the real-time footage and the recorded footage, to prove that that was not what happened. They would stay in the Parliament for 22 days to demonstrate to the Parliament people how do we deliberate trade service agreement like that.
Professional facilitators — mediators with specialties in deliberative democracy — demonstrated this kind of debate, both in the Parliament and on the streets around the Parliament. Half a million people participated on the street, seeing the image — the debates, the transcripts — in real time, translated to different languages on their phone and on their computers.
After 22 days, the society had a rough consensus about this trade service agreement, and the government agreed. The head of the legislative body said, “OK, we have heard your consensus. We will not pass this trade agreement until we bring this consensus into national law.”
Having reached the goal of the protest, people peacefully left the occupied building. And around the occupied legislative Parliament, there was nobody missing. There was no serious injuries. It was very peaceful.