Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Small protests greet Chinese envoy

OPPOSITION:Protest groups said they expected hundreds to take to the streets in Greater Kaohsiung today when Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin lunches with KMT politicians

By Ko Shu-ling and Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporters

Protesters display posters reading “One Taiwan, one China” as Chinese negotiator Chen Yunlin arrives at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday, leading a delegation of representatives from Chinese state-owned companies.

Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) arrived in Taiwan yesterday for a six-day visit, sparking a series of small protests at a number of venues.

Small groups of protesters targeted venues at which Chen made appearances, but failed to match the scale or intensity seen during his three previous visits to the country.

However, the rallies are expected to intensify today as Chen makes his first foray into parts of southern Taiwan.

This is Chen’s first visit to Taiwan mainly for sightseeing. It is also the first time his wife, who is facing allegations that she had taken advantage of her husband’s position to embezzle US$300 million, did not accompany him to Taiwan.

Chen, who is leading a delegation of about 20 Chinese companies, said the purpose of his trip is to seek development opportunities for both sides and establish a platform for businesses to exchange opinions and share experiences.

“It is the only and correct way for peaceful development between the two sides,” he said. “Such exchanges have come too late. However, it is not our fault, but a historic mistake made in the past that must be corrected.”

Chen also expressed hope that Taiwan would ease regulations on Chinese investment, saying the more and the earlier, the better.

Groups of protesters led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city councilors and several pro-independence organizations have vowed to tail Chen around the clock to oppose growing cross-strait ties that they say have come at the expense of Taiwanese sovereignty.

DPP politicians joined by less than a dozen protesters and Falun Gong supporters confronted Chen as he walked into Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei in the afternoon.

The Chinese envoy did not respond to attempts by Jack Chen (陳嘉爵), the manager of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) office, to offer him jasmine flowers and jasmine tea, a reference to a fledgling protest movement in China.

Jack Chen and other protesters, including DPP Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥), were stopped outside the hotel by uniformed police, part of the dozens deployed for the visit. However, there were noticeably fewer police than before.

Protest groups said they expected hundreds to take to the streets in Greater Kaohsiung today when Chen Yunlin lunches with local Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians and tours factories and Kaohsiung Harbor.

“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is clearly moving toward unification, which is opposed by 80 percent of the people. We must do what we can do to oppose this situation ... and fight for Taiwan,” said Chen Che (陳哲), one of the protesters.

Carrying large banners that read “Unification is a [dead] end” and “Refuse Chinese rule,” retired civil servant Wu Ji-sheng (吳日昇) said Chen Yunlin was “the devil,” intent on discrediting Taiwan’s de facto independence.

“He’s not welcome here. We don’t want representatives of the Chinese Communist Party here in Taiwan,” he said.

Sources have confirmed that protesters will congregate at Kaohsiung Harbor to rally against Chen Yunlin’s first scheduled appearance in Greater Kaohsiung, a day before he moves on to Chiayi City, Chiayi County and then Yunlin.

The protesters are expected to include dozens of members from the Southern Taiwan Society, the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and the One Side One Country alliance, spearheaded by Chen Shui-bian’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), who was elected Greater Kaohsiung councilor in November.

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