Hundreds of students and activists opposed to a trade deal with China have occupied Taiwan\’s parliament and defied police efforts to evict them.
The students broke into parliament late Tuesday night and have so far successfully repelled police efforts to remove them from the chamber.
They are calling for the government to conduct a more detailed review of the trade deal, which they say could endanger Taiwanese jobs.
The opposition, which has long been wary of China, also worries the agreement will increase Beijing\’s growing influence in Taiwan.
The protest was prompted by complaints that the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party went back on its promise to conduct a thorough review the pact.
The trade deal is part of the far-reaching Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA, signed between Taiwan and China in 2010.
Under the subdivision of the pact now under discussion, Chinese and Taiwanese service companies would increase investments in each other\’s territory.
The opposition has vowed to vote against the trade deal, but does not have the strength to block it.
Taiwan-China economic ties have been strong for years. Political relations have also grown warmer following historic high level talks last month.
Taiwan split from China following a civil war in 1949. Beijing still regards it as a breakaway province that will someday be reunified with the mainland.
Economic ties have improved in recent years, especially after the somewhat Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou was elected president in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.
Source: VOA and agencies