On March 29th, 2017, the Global Taiwan Institute held the first installment of its Civil Society and Democracy Series, a thematic program under the Public Seminar Series. The event, Reflections on the Sunflower Movement after Three Years, focused on Taiwan’s student-led Sunflower Movement. 2017 marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Sunflower Movement, a historic event in Taiwan’s democracy that included the occupation of the Legislative Yuan for 23 days by student protesters and the participation of more than 100,000 people in a peaceful demonstration in Taipei on March 30, 2014. What began as student-led protests became a political movement that eventually contributed to the establishment of several new political parties on Taiwan. Three years later, how do we assess the significance of the movement’s impact on Taiwan’s democracy—its political landscape and trajectory?
Speakers at the event included student leaders of the movement: June Lin participated in the occupation of the Legislative Yuan and Fang-yu Chen helped coordinate international outreach for the protesters. Louisa Chiang, formerly senior staff at the National Endowment for Democracy, served as discussant and looked at the movement in the broader context of cross-Strait relations, US-Taiwan relations, and democratization in Asia.