The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and various civic groups staged protests yesterday as a Chinese delegation arrived in Taipei to sign an investment protection agreement today.
“The agreement is an agreement supporting Chinese aggression and Beijing’s strategy of promoting eventual unification,” Hsiao Kuan-yu (蕭貫譽), director of the TSU’s Department of Organization, said at a rally in front of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) building.
About 100 pro-independence protesters from the TSU and subsidiary groups of the Taiwan Society attended the demonstration, accusing the SEF of “making major concessions and jeopardizing national interests” in the cross-strait talks.
The key element in the agreement is “investment promotion,” Hsiao said, as Beijing intends to increase its investment in Taiwan’s banking, media and other industries, so it could one day “seize Taiwan’s fate by the throat.”
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has stressed that the agreement is aimed at protecting Taiwanese investments and personal safety, but “everyone knows that China will protect neither,” as evidenced by the Bruce Chung (鍾鼎邦) case.
Chung, a Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner, has been detained in China since June 18 for “jeopardizing China’s national security,” according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
Civic groups and opposition parties have called for the immediate and unconditional release of Chung, and urged Ma to raise the issue with the Chinese to no avail.
Chung’s detention is the perfect gauge of China’s willingness to implement the investment protection agreement, TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said.
The TSU and other civic groups also staged a protest yesterday morning at a location outside the restricted zone in Shilin District (士林).
Victims of Investment in China Association chairman William Kao (高為邦) also cited Chung’s detention as an example of why the agreement would be a “joke.”
Taiwanese businesspeople should have been the strongest supporters of the deal, Kao said.
“But they are not. Why? Because they are the ones who know the Chinese the best. They know that Beijing will not protect anyone and that it will not agree to arbitration being handled by a third party,” Kao added.
The protesters blasted the Taipei City Police Department for designating a large area off-limits because of fears of mass protests and to keep the protesters out of the Grand Hotel, where the agreement is expected to be signed.
The department has drawn up a 10km2 restricted zone around the perimeter of the Grand Hotel. The area west of Beian Road, east of Chengde Road, south of Jiantan Road and north of Minzu E and W Road is restricted to traffic and commuters until noon tomorrow.
Security was tight around the Grand Hotel as Taipei police set up road blocks and checkpoints to monitor people going in and out of the hotel.
According to a National Police Agency estimate, about 1,300 police officers are expected to be mobilized between Tuesday and tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Ma yesterday remained silent about his stance on the Chung case, smiling and not uttering a word when he was repeatedly asked by reporters whether his administration would try to secure Chung’s release.
According to a press release issued by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), Chung’s wife Lee Ya-min (李雅敏) yesterday left for Jiangxi Province, China, to visit Chung.