The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday that it did not rule out mobilizing its supporters to “shadow” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) during his visit next week, adding that it would demand an apology from the official for what it said was an insulting comment from Beijing.
Zhang’s four-day visit from June 25 to June 28, during which he is to visit New Taipei City, Greater Taichung and Greater Tainan, comes on the heels of TAO spokesperson Fan Liqing’s (范麗青) remarks last week that “Taiwan’s future should be decided by all Chinese people, including Taiwanese.”
The comment has drawn the ire of Taiwanese over the past few days, with politicians across party lines describing the comment as highly inappropriate and reflective of Beijing’s “lack of respect” for the right to Taiwanese self-determination.
“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been silent on the controversial and inappropriate remarks, and Ma has tried to avoid media inquiries. This is ridiculous,” TSU Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said on the sidelines of a campaign event in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋).
The Presidential Office initially declined to comment on Fan’s remarks, but later issued a statement following strong public pressure.
The statement said that the nation’s future should “be decided by its 23 million people, according to the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution,” which subsequently was also criticized by the opposition for “being weak and not challenging Beijing” and “wrongfully citing the ROC Constitution to back up Beijing’s view” as the Constitution still lists “mainland China” as part of the ROC’s territory.
Citing Ma’s interview with the Hong Kong-based Singtao Daily in February 2006, Lin said Ma emphasized that Taiwan’s future should be decided by people across the Taiwan Strait, which “was exactly the same as what Fan said last week.”
Ma changed his rhetoric in 2007 during his campaign for the 2008 presidential election, saying in a campaign advertisement that Taiwan’s future should be decided by the 23 million people of Taiwan.
Lin, who is running for New Taipei City mayor in the November election, demanded that New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) lodge a protest against Zhang and ask for an apology in their scheduled meeting.
“As Zhang is now right at our front door, I wonder how Chu will respond to China’s arrogant remarks,” Lin added.
Meanwhile, in related news, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to over-interpret Zhang’s visit.
Wang was responding to DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang’s (蔡其昌) comment that it was “unwise” for Zhang to choose to visit Taiwan during the legislature’s extra session, when legislation on the oversight of cross-strait agreements or the trade-in-services pact might be discussed.
Additional reporting by CNA