TAIPEI: Dozens of Taiwanese pro-independence activists clashed with police during a protest on Tuesday against an agreement to further open up service sector trade with China as lawmakers debated the pact.
Chanting “Opposing the trade service agreement, safeguarding sovereignty,” demonstrators attempted to push their way through a police cordon around parliament in Taipei.
Others tried to climb over the fence but were grabbed and pulled down by police. Two demonstrators were injured including a woman in her 70s, who fell and was hospitalized, the activist groups said.
“The pact will bring huge negative impacts on Taiwan’s economy and lots of people will subsequently lose their jobs, but few people are aware of this,” activist leader Tsai Ting-kui said.
Under the agreement signed in June, China will open 80 of its service sectors to Taiwanese companies, while Taiwan will in turn allow Chinese investment in 64 service sectors.
The pact is one of the follow-up agreements to the sweeping Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in 2010 to reduce trade barriers between China and Taiwan.
Taiwan’s China-friendly Kuomintang government said the pact would help lift the island’s economy but the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opposed it, saying it would hurt Taiwan’s smaller service companies.