I will always remember the chilling sound of the riot police’s rubber truncheons viciously hitting the young flesh and bones of the peaceful protesters. Hundreds of protesters were on their knees, their hands extended into the charged evening air in a peaceful gesture. Across from, row upon row of helmeted riot squads, armed with plexiglass shields, batons, and the usual accoutrement of the nasty business, had been given the order to crack down.
A few hundred meters behind us, hundreds of protesters had earlier broken into the Executive Yuan, the government’s nerve center. That same evening, the “rioters,” as the government came to call them, would be bloodied in a brutal expulsion by police. A week later, hundreds of pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) gangsters would take to the streets in an attempt to physically assault the young protesters.
Those all-too-familiar scenes did not take place in troubled Hong Kong in recent weeks. Rather, they occurred in downtown Taipei, Taiwan, at the height of the Sunflower Movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament, in March and April 2014.