Lin Fei-fan林飛帆, known as the student leader behind Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, was born on May 19, 1988 in the southern Taiwan city if Tainan. He graduated from the Department of Political Science at National Cheng Kung University and as of 2014 is a second-year student at the Department of Political Science at National Taiwan University (NTU).
Lin has participated in many rallies such as the “731 student movement”, “901 opposition of media monopolization movement” back in 2012, and is widely known among the student community in Taiwan for being outspoken about media monopolization in addition to trade agreements between the island and neighboring China. The student leader is also very outspoken about supporting Taiwan independency and has political views that have been highly influenced from high father, who takes a “deep-green” stance on supporting the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan, reports Taiwan’s media.
The student leader is also responsible for officially organizing and announcing a protest on March 30, 2014, that was geared towards putting increased pressure on the Ma Administration to meet student demand related to the Movement. Taiwan’s media reported that about 100,000 plus people showed up while international reports stated the event drew in roughly 300,000-500,000 protestors.
In addition to expressing Lin’s background, Taiwan’s media reports Lin is increasingly known for wearing a green army looking jacket with a grey T-shirt underneath in addition to jeans and tan Red Wing boots, making him an icon among Taiwan’s youth. Lin’s circular glasses, however, is what makes him stand out the most, according to the media. Once an overweight, highly freckled guy who tended to be socially reserved, he is now one of Taiwan’s most outspoken citizens, the media exacerbates.
Opposition leaders in Taiwan have been calling on Lin to end the Sunflower movement. However, Lin has said in recent reports the students will not back down until the recently initiated trade pact between China and Taiwan goes under further review. Taiwan’s media claims the trade pact has been taken back as of late March 2014 for extensive review and that Lin is now pushing for President Ma Ying-jeou to resign.
As of March 2014, Lin is still demanding that he has direct talks with Ma Ying-jeou after meeting with various legislators to debate topics regarded to the trade pact. At the time of this writing the details of such a meeting have yet to be solidified.
Taiwanese have very mixed viewpoints towards Lin. Some see him as a national hero who supports Taiwan democracy and is pushing for the well being of the island. Others see him as an irresponsible student whose demands keep changing constantly while his clothes do not. Taiwanese views towards him are as polarized as there views are toward the recent Movement.
As of late March 2014, Taiwan’s media reported that Lin is continuing to receive support from professors and staff at NTU for his efforts despite the fact he is missing classes. The media also stated there is buzz that certain individuals are pushing for NTU to flunk Lin for the Spring 2014 semester due to his absence but such buzz has yet to be confirmed.
Lin is often seen with his main partner in the movement Chen Wei-ting陳為廷 who has made a reputation for wearing his infamously T-shirt that says “Fuck the government” in Chinese.
It is unclear whether Lin was responsible for the initial takeover of Taiwan’s Legislature or if he was the one behind the Sunflower symbol.