Hundreds of students and activists opposed to a trade deal with China have occupied Taiwan’s parliament and defied policy efforts to evict them. The protesters in the parliament say that the agreement with China would hurt Taiwan’s economy and leave it vulnerable to pressure from Beijing. The trade deal would allow China and Taiwan to invest more freely in each other’s service market. China and Taiwan were split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, claiming its sovereignty over the region. Also, China is Taiwan’s biggest trading partner and, in recent years, ties between the two have improved. Critics fear that the Trade Deal signed this time will make Taiwan increasingly integrate with China and threaten Taiwan’s independence.

(Channel News Asia, BBC, March 19)