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Occupy Congress in Taiwan: Political Opportunity, Threat, and the Sunflower Movement

  • Ming-sho Ho
Abstract

In opposition to a free trade pact with China, Taiwan's Sunflower Movement erupted in spring 2014 and occupied the national legislature for twenty-four days. Drawing from the recent debates on the relation between social movements and the state, I elaborate a revised polity model that focuses on the effects of elite disunity, threat, and movement strategy. The Sunflower Movement originated from a tactical misstep by the ruling party that created an immediate sense of threat from proposed closer economic ties with China, thereby facilitating protest mobilization. Student protesters were able to seize the national legislature because of an internal split within the ruling party and support from the opposition party. However, the failure to further exploit these favorable opportunities exposed the movement to government repression. Fortunately for the movement, the disunity among elites helped the activists manage a dignified exit, which they could claim as a success.

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Journal of East Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 1598-2408
  • EISSN: 2234-6643
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-east-asian-studies
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