Taiwan Sunflower Movement


The Taiwanese Sunflower Movement is a political campaign which began in 2014, with the intention of bringing about Taiwanese independence from China, and also to create democratic government in Taiwan. The movement is usually considered to be a youth movement, largely organized and supported by students. But, as with any new movement, there are some problems in the organization, and this essay will discuss some of the issues that the movement faces.

The movement first began with a very specific issue; to protest against the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), which is a piece of Chinese legislation aimed at making it easier to do business and banking between China and Taiwan. Taiwan, which is unhappy with its status as Chinese dependency, has yet to ratify the treaty, and the Sunflower Movement wants it to not be ratified. However, from around April/May 2014 the movement has broadened its aims.

The movement currently has two related aims. Primarily, they want Taiwan to be independent from Chinese control. Taiwan has a long history of wanting independence, but China has historically been unwilling to release any of its territories. A related aim, and one of the reasons for wanting independence, is that an independent Taiwan could create its own system of government, and because many young Taiwanese want democracy, this is not compatible with China’s one party communist regime.

A new problem for The Sunflower Movement is perceived to be an over-abundance of goals: they have moved from but still adhere to countering the trade treaty; to Miaoli protesting a building and development strategy which threatened to destroy the territory of an endangered leopard, and have even become associated with anti-nuclear power lobbying groups. With no singe direction, this young movement risks losing its identity, and so becoming a shelter for a diverse array of disparate and unrelated causes.

The cause of The Taiwanese Sunflower Movement, of democracy and independence, is largely supported by many Taiwanese people. However, because the movement is new, and because it has become a planet movement for a range of smaller causes, it is at present at risk of losing its way. If it can refocus, and create discipline within its ranks, then it can be a force for change in the country. But this is yet to be seen.