Eric Chang: On the Unfolding Situation at the Legislative Yuan during the Sunflower Movement

Felicia Lin
5 min readMar 23, 2023

The Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, which started in protest to the passage of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), happened nine years ago, on the night of March 18, 2014. I was in Taipei when the Legislative Yuan, which is the equivalent of the parliament in Taiwan, was occupied by students and activists in an effort to block the passage of the trade agreement between Taiwan and China. It was the beginning of what became known as the Sunflower Movement. The day before, on March 17, the Kuomintang (KMT) had attempted to force through passage of the CSSTA in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, without giving it a clause-by-clause review.

Several days later at a press conference on March 23rd Taiwan’s then President Ma Ying-jeou stated his resolve in passing the trade agreement. That night, students and activists attempted to occupy the Executive Yuan in protest. A few days later, on March 28th I spoke with Eric Chang who joined students and protestors outside of the Executive Yuan on the 23rd. He was there when police started breaking up the students and protestors, himself among them, and he shared what he saw and experienced that night in episode 121.

At the time I spoke to Eric it had been only 10 days since the occupation of the Legislative Yuan, so the situation at the Legislative Yuan and the Sunflower Movement was still unfolding and this of course was before we knew what the outcome would be. It’s interesting to look back on it and hear my conversation with Eric in pre-COVID times, and way before the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. We talked about the role of social media in the occupation of the Legislative Yuan, how the Sunflower Movement galvanized young people in Taiwan at the time, and the atmosphere outside the Legislative Yuan while it was occupied; every day there were thousands of people from all walks of life gathered outside in the streets surrounding the Legislative Yuan.

[LISTEN to the Complete Episode HERE on APPLE PODCASTS or SPOTIFY]

This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association.

NATWA was founded in 1988, and its mission is:

  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.

To learn more about NATWA visit their website:

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • What the occupation of the Legislative Yuan by students and activists means for Taiwan’s democracy
  • What the scene/situation around the occupied Legislative Yuan was like
  • Comparisons between the occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan with what would happen if people tried to occupy the U.S. Capitol Building
  • How peaceful and organized the student protestors are; they have set up a variety of stations for supplies, to charge mobile phones, for recycling, first aid
  • Professors have given lectures outside in the perimeter of the Legislative Yuan
  • A sausage vendor that’s set up outside of the Legislative Yuan and is giving out sausage for free
  • Medical and legal professionals who have volunteered to help the student protestors
  • How Eric and his friend Dwagie (Taiwanese hip hop artist/rapper) have visited the Legislative Yuan area since the occupation
  • The March 30th Rally in support of the Sunflower Movement that took place globally
  • The Taiwan Voice Facebook page
  • How people can speak publicly or perform in the area surrounding the occupied Legislative Yuan
  • Lazy Habits, a jazz hip hop band performed outside of the occupied Legislative Yuan
  • High school students in Tainan (in southern Taiwan) are speaking out publicly about the occupation of the Legislative Yuan
  • How the Sunflower Movement has galvanized people across Taiwan
  • How Eric has seen friends who are KMT supporters come out in support of the Sunflower Movement and occupation of the Legislative Yuan
  • How young people learn about news through social media, Facebook and PTT, a popular local bulletin board founded by a National Taiwan University student in 1995
  • Whether or not the pact (Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement) will get passed
  • How the Sunflower Movement has made people feel more comfortable to free to speak out publicly

Related Links:

Eric and Dwagie

Sunflower Movement:

Legislative Yuan:

Democracy at 4am:

Bill de Blasio:


Lazy Habits:

Pan-Green Coalition:

January 6 United States Capitol attack:

January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol (from

Kuomintang (KMT):

Ma Ying-jeou:

The Sunflower Movement, brought to you by the Internet (an article from the Taipei Times):

PTT Bulletin Board System:

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP):

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Rallies held across globe for Sunflower movement (an article from the Taipei Times):’s list of resources and rallies that took place worldwide in support of the Sunflower Movement and to protect Taiwan’s democracy:

LISTEN to Episode 231: Eric Chang: On the Unfolding Situation at the Legislative Yuan during the Sunflower Movement HERE

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Felicia Lin

Felicia Lin is the producer and host of Talking Taiwan, the longest running Taiwan-related podcast, and Golden Crane Podcast Award Winner.