Taiwan's Big Brawl

TAIPEI, July 8, 2010 - Chaos broke out Thursday in Taipei's legislature almost as soon as the session began. The scenes recalled past legislative brawls in Taiwan, a nation whose gradual transition from dictatorship to democracy continues to spark passions among its two major political blocs. Scuffles erupted as lawmakers used books, garbage bins, tea cups, and themselves to attack one another.

Flights are not uncommon in Taiwan's parliament.

The conflict began after Wang Jin-pyng of the ruling Nationalist party rejected a bid by the opposition to debate a controversial trade pact with China. The agreement includes cutting tariffs on about 800 Chinese goods headed to Taiwan. Taiwan's Nationalists want to open trade with neighboring China to avoid economic isolation.

The Democratic Progressives, on the other hand, fear the pact will hurt the island's economy by making it highly dependent on China, ultimately paving the way for political unification.

Taiwan's parliament is expected to approve the trade deal by next month. In the meatime, the speaker of the parliament has called a recess until Friday.

Watch the fight