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JSPES, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Summer 2014)
pp. 125 –165

Sunshine in Taiwan

James H. Hughes

Albuqurque, New Mexico

In March and April of 2014 Taiwan experienced some rays of sunshine over its economic future when the Sunflower student movement occupied its legislative chamber for three weeks to protest the cross-strait service trade agreement that the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou signed with China in June 2013. The protest underscored a growing realization within Taiwan that the policies of economic integration with China being pursued by President Ma have only served to depress Taiwan's economy, which has experienced the relocation of much of its manufacturing sector to China. The cross-strait service trade agreement would allow the movement of Taiwan's financial capital into China, while it opens Taiwan's service sector to Chinese investment, steps which are expected to further depress Taiwan's domestic investment and real wage levels. In effect, the Sunflower movement offers advice to other countries in avoiding policies of closer economic integration with China, which have proved harmful to Taiwan's economic and political future.