Sat, Feb 24, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Council rejects Chinese official’s application to visit

By Chung Li-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Shanghai Municipal Taiwan Affairs Office Director Li Wenhui, right, receives and shakes hands with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je as Ko disembarks from an aircraft at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport on July 1 last year.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei City Government

Shanghai Municipal Taiwan Affairs Office Director Li Wenhui’s (李文輝) application to visit Taiwan after the Lunar New Year has been rejected, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said on Thursday.

Chinese government officials who want to visit Taiwan must submit applications to a joint review committee composed of representatives of the council and related government agencies.

The committee takes into consideration an applicant’s previous activities in Taiwan and their reason and itinerary for the proposed visit, Chiu said.

Government agencies do their best to review cases to prevent disorder at exchanges and to maintain the stability of society, he said.

Local media reported that Li has over the past few years visited Taiwan about every two weeks.

The frequency of Li’s visits is probably the highest among China’s Taiwan affairs officials, Chiu said, adding that his visits have also coincided with a relatively large amount of controversies in the nation.

In September last year, Li attended the “Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival,” which ended in protests and violence at National Taiwan University’s athletics field.

The council last year said it would investigate whether Li had engaged in inappropriate behavior, including actions that would be in breach of regulations for cross-strait exchanges, at the event.

Asked if the rejection of the application was part of an effort to improve the management of the flow of people, Chiu said there was no need to associate the two matters.

Asked whether the committee would reject an application by Li to attend a Taipei-Shanghai forum that is expected to be held in Taiwan in the first half of this year, Chiu said the two cases are unrelated.

Local media reports said that the committee approved an application by officials of the Beijing Municipal Taiwan Affairs Office to attend a cross-strait exchange event in Kaohsiung after the Lunar New Year.

The government welcomes “normal, healthy and orderly” exchanges between Taiwan and China, and hopes that Beijing does not harbor specific political goals or intentions when engaging in activities in Taiwan that would engender disagreements and controversies in society, Chiu said.

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