Tens of Thousands Rally Against Taiwan Pension Reform Procedures

  • Civil servants, military, education personnel, workers join
  • Protest puts further pressure on island’s President Tsai

Tens of thousands of people took to streets of Taipei City, Taiwan, Saturday in protest against pension-reform procedures, adding to growing woes for President Tsai Ing-wen who faces a decline in approval ratings after three months in office.

More than 110,000 people took part in the rally, Cti TV reported. The protest, attended by former premier Hau Pei-tsun, 97, was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. local time after a gathering around the presidential office.

Protestors march in Taipei on Sept. 3.
Protestors march in Taipei on Sept. 3.
Photographer: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

Tsai’s administration has said it is planning reforms to the pension system to address issues including financial difficulty and unequal payments. The Presidential Office has formed a task force to map out measures. The protesters say they have been left in the dark about the government’s plans.

“We support reforms in the pension system but we are against insufficient communication from government,” Huang Yao-nan, one organizer of the rally by civil servants, military, education personnel and workers, said Saturday.

A poll by cable news network TVBS showed the approval of Taiwan’s first woman president, who assumed leadership in May, has fallen to 39 percent from 47 percent in her first month in office, amid staled relations with China and domestic factors including a misfired missile by the navy. TVBS surveyed 1,011 adults between Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 and the margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.

“We don’t want to be scapegoats, we want dignity,” said Huang, who also heads the National Federation of Education Unions. Retirees from government services shouldn’t be blamed for challenges the system faces, he said.

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