There are currently calls - notably by the Taiwan Rural Front - for revisions to the Land Expropriation Act which would put further legal obstacles in the way of future cases of land theft by local governments.
The protests against the fourth nuclear power plant in Gongliao, Taipei County and the wind turbines in Yuanli, Miaoli County are, in part, motivated by insufficient public consultation prior to construction and there are, in addition, calls for changes to be made to the referendum act.
The government's recently negotiated cross-strait agreement on trade in services is currently being criticized for insufficient protection of Taiwanese industries and workers from Chinese competition; this would seem to be in essence a call for continued and/or enhanced trade protectionism.
My suspicion however, is that these demands for alterations and revisions to existing laws will not have the desired effects in terms of resolving the problems they were intended to solve, but will instead increase and exacerbate those existing practices of corruption, intimidation and deceit necessary to circumvent and undermine the new laws. Labour regulators, license-issuers, inspectors, competitors, neighbours and other stakeholders can all be bought off, threatened, or lied to in various ways and this is what I would expect to happen should the protesters succeed in achieving further alterations to the law. Not only would these be bad consequences in and of themselves, but they might also work to further deteriorate public respect for the concept of a lawful society since the discrepancies between what the law says and what actually happens will become increasingly obvious to more and more people.
"As young people climbed the fence and clashed with police — a common occurrence nowadays — I could not help but think that all that effort, commendable though it was, will amount to little if it is not part of a larger strategy."That missing "larger strategy" as I have declared time and time again over the past five years ought to be one of depoliticization, i.e. of erasing the government's involvement in functions that properly belong to a free market of willing suppliers and buyers; decisions regarding property, competition and development, the production and distribution of electricity, education and healthcare and of course labour and environmental protections. The only really arguable exception might be national defence due partly to the enormous costs involved and the necessity that that defence be maintained over time with no time gaps for market development which could be exploited by a military foe.
A transformation toward a more free-market economy would not yield perfect results, it may not even yield results with which a majority of people are happy, but it would at least require an explicit social commitment to an ethics of voluntary cooperation and reciprocity that already saturates Taiwanese society in implicit understandings between buyers and sellers, between neighbours and between friends.
But it will not happen, in large measure because it would require an immediate sea-change in the outlook of those academics and other apparent leaders of the various protests, not to mention the rank members whose names will never be mentioned in the newspapers.