1. Updated — March 23, 3:04 p.m. ET:
5. The trade agreement would allow China to invest in 64 service sectors in Taiwan, including advertising, retail, print, healthcare and telecom. All Chinese businesses with over $200,000 in capital would be able to send workers to Taiwan on renewable visas.
The ruling party argues that it benefits Taiwanese conglomerates and, by extension, Taiwan’s severely lagging economy. Opponents claim it will allow China to threaten Taiwan’s democracy and small businesses by mass immigration and investment, the same way it has for Tibet.
6. Undergirding the protest is also President Mah Ying-jeou’s tremendous unpopularity (as of September 2013, his approval rating was 9.2%).
Below is a widely shared 2006 video of Mah blasting then-sitting President Chen Shui-bien: “A president with 18% approval has neither the trust nor the respect of the people. The people have the right to impeach him by force,” a sentiment that Mah’s detractors now share.
7. Since June 2013, President Mah has fielded accusations of deliberately avoiding item-by-item public scrutiny on his trade agreements with China, insisting that they all be passed en bloc.
Below is a broadcast from UDN, a network known to lean toward the ruling KMT Party.
8. Meanwhile, the ruling KMT party accuses the Democratic Progressive Party of rallying anti-China sentiments against the trade agreement in an obstructionist ploy.
12. Many in Taiwan express discontent with mainstream coverage of the event. An alleged Facebook rant by a video editor at CtiTV has been widely shared in social media.
Popular author/essayist Giddens Ko posted this message to his 1.1 million followers on Facebook.