Sunday, March 30, 2014

500K People at least Protest for Taiwan democracy

Apple Daily says it all: 500,000 showed up. Some media are estimating as many as 700,000. Well, except for the pro-China media, which put out even lower numbers than the police. Kudos to the DPP, which did not hijack the protest and remained in the background. My son reported no DPP flags there. Kudos also to the students of Taiwan, who turned out in huge numbers and who did a great job organizing the rally. The enormous turnout shows how the people of Taiwan, especially the young, have incorporated the ideal of democracy into the Taiwan identity. No time to blog today, enjoy some links....
Daily Links:
  • MEDIA AWESOMENESS: The Diplomat publishes piece defending Confucius Institutes from academic at GWU, which hosts a Confucius Institute, but does not inform readers of that. Nor does academic. FAIL. Marshall Sahlins responds to McCord here.
  • IMPORTANT: Ma said yesterday protest won't affect Ma-Xi meeting. Heh. Meaning that he is going to accelerate it now. The protest must have Beijing and the KMT running scared. Will KMT legislators bolt? Will this impact the upcoming elections? And most important of all, what will legislative Speaker and Ma rival Wang Jin-pyng do? He canceled the fifth round of cross-party talks on the trade pact ahead of Ma's speech and the protest (here).
  • Cole: Does sunflower movement have an exit strategy? Excellent piece. Cole owns this movement, no one has done a better job of bringing it to the world.
  • WSJ pegs rally at 350K
  • Reuters, reporting from alternate universe, says 100K turned out. It must suck to be a Reuters reporter with no television, Google, Facebook, or Twitter in their office.
  • Premier Jiang rejects student demands. Two things -- (1) Jiang is being the hardass in the tradition of the Benevolent Great Leader sending out underling to do the nasty stuff and (2) Ma would like Jiang to follow him as President and party leader, I suspect, but this clash has probably put a stake in his political career. 
  • FocusTaiwan, the government news site, desperately struggles to make the 3,000 pathetic counter-demonstrators from Saturday look as if they were big.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Jenna Cody said...

I'm friends with one of the Reuters guys and have set him straight (but not the one who covered the protests sadly so it's not my friend's fault).

On another topic, your title, bro. "500k at least protest for Taiwan democracy"?

Well I'm glad they at least protested for democracy!

Les said...

Several of main TV channels were gushing over how quickly the crowd dispersed when the protest was called finished, how no garbage was left behind, and how polite the protesters were to the police. When is DPP going to learn the lesson that you cannot give KMT or it's shills even one iota of an excuse for criticism? This is how you do peaceful protest!

TaiwanJunkie said...

if you are keeping score, that's 500k-750k vs 3000. That's a 200 to one ratio. Why did the KMT even bother with a counter rally, just to show how pathetic they are? Or are they really THAT out of touch with reality?

Just like the whole police injuries business. Most of the injuries were wrist tendinitis and sore backs... from clubbing too many protesters? Oh sorry Mr policeman for making you bend down when you wield the batton at us and sorry we were literally too hardheaded for you battonwielding wrist.

Jerome Besson said...

ROC is headed for Chinese Fujian. If Wang is the smart operator I trust him to be, he will lead Taiwan out of slavery.

???A said...

I'm in America right now. What is the best online channel to follow in terms of live streaming coverage? Any suggestions? Mandarin and English are both acceptable.

Michael Turton said...

Live stream in English from inside legislature

suetien said...

How is the number 500k or 750k derived from? We saw it with our own eyes. Got to have a legitimate way of tallying in order not to turn people off.

Hans said...

I'm a little bit skeptical about numbers above 500k, there were hordes of people, yes, but I can't wrap my mind around a population of a small capital meeting in such a limited area. Police estimate seems low though, but also huge area in front of the presidential palace was blocked off and thus empty... I'd put it somewhere in between, maybe 350k like some sources among the organisers say?

However, it's weird that BBC中文 says the police estimate was 210k, is there some other police that was keeping counts?

???A: my favourite are Ketagalan media and the live reporting from g0v guys directly:
also take a look at the links there.

Michael Turton said...


people came in from all over Taiwan, trains and buses were jammed. Towards the end of the afternoon the line stretched up and down roosevelt/chungshan road, and spilled onto many side roads. The parks were full. If someone calculated a million it wouldn't surprise me. I think 500K is quite conservative.


Andrew Kerslake said...

The other factor that might push the number over one million would be that there was a constant flow of protesters. Some moved in and stayed for an hour or two and left while more came to take their places. The stream toward Ketagalon Blvd. was still heavy well past 6:00pm. The areas around us would fill with people and then they would dissipate. There was also a steady stream of people exiting Ketagalon Blvd. It was like an overflowing bathtub. The road could only hold so many people and as new people entered, the overflow came out.

The police and TV stations use a formula of known dimensions of the streets and the size of the average human footprint to calculate the number of attendees. What could not be seen from the air were the people massed under the trees and in the parks. 228 Memorial Park was almost completely full. Or at least on in the parts that were not cordoned off by the police.

Of course, Ma Ying-jiu will discount the numbers or try to skew the significance. What the KMT needs to understand, but will probably talk themselves out of seeing, is that the protest was the demographic opposite of the typical DPP rally.

Anonymous said...

Organizers and Pro-rally individuals may exaggerate and Anti-rally individuals may understate the crowd figures. think Police estimation ( geometrical method )is most accurate. the crowd was probably 100-200K than 500K.

Stefan Holm said...

Some of you folks might have heard the song alreadz, but maybe you might wanna give those kids and their song a hand: (Island's Sunrise)

Jenna Cody said...

My estimate was 300-350K only because compared to Huo Da and Hong Zhongqiu (each estimated at about 200K?) this felt to be about 50%-75% bigger.

I wonder what pro-KMT propagandist told the police to low-ball the estimate so badly, and why so many international media outlets are buying it.

Jenna Cody said...

My estimate was 300-350K only because compared to Huo Da and Hong Zhongqiu (each estimated at about 200K?) this felt to be about 50%-75% bigger.

I wonder what pro-KMT propagandist told the police to low-ball the estimate so badly, and why so many international media outlets are buying it.

Readin said...

There have been controversies in America over crowd sizes for marches on Washington. I think the problem is that it is just really hard to calculate. Even if you have good aerial photos it isn't easy. People are leaving and entering. Some areas are more densely crowded than others. How many are taking a break inside local coffee shops and restaurants? How many are underneath the building overhangs? As you get far from the center and density drops off, how do you know when to stop counting? Hopefully there is someone at some university who is tackling the problem.

500K is certainly impressive and hard to believe. About 1 out of every 40 people in Taiwan showed up? It would be hard to believe 1 out of every person in Taipei showing up. But to include people who have to come all the way from Taiwan and Kaohsiung? If it is 500K, it is very impressive.

Of course what will be much less impressive is when a lot of those people vote KMT during the next election.