Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has declined to meet with Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠), who is to give a speech at the legislature this morning.
Asked yesterday by reporters why the scheduled meeting was canceled, Wang said his schedule today would be “unpredictable” because he has to handle legislative matters.
“Yes, it was canceled, because we all know that the legislature will hold a plenary meeting tomorrow. That will be a critical day in the extra session,” Wang said.
According to a schedule that was announced on June 13 by the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, which is hosting Chen’s visit, Wang would have 30 minutes to meet with Chen in the legislature before the dissident addresses the legislature at 10am.
The legislature decided on May 24 to have a two-week extra session between June 13 and Thursday. Today will be the last chance for a number of bills to go through second and third readings if the opposition is opposed to holding plenary meetings tomorrow and Thursday.
Wang said he was “not under any pressure” to call off the meeting with Chen.
“I told [the host] about two weeks ago since the legislature decided to hold the extra session that I might have an unpredictable schedule during the session. I told them long before, not yesterday or the day before yesterday [as the media has reported],” Wang said.
Wang said it would be more important for Chen to gain a better understanding and a first-hand experience of democracy in Taiwan than to meet with him.
Wang also serves as president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a government-funded institution aimed at supporting courageous individuals and groups devoted to promoting democracy and human rights.
Chen is scheduled to tour the foundation on July 10, but Wang said he would not be able to meet Chen then either.
Wang said that he very much welcomed the visit by Chen and his family, but that he would not be able to meet with him during his 18-day stay.
“No. Now that the meeting has been canceled, his [Chen’s] itinerary during his stay has already been settled,” Wang said.
When Chen visits the foundation, he will be received by its chief executive, Huang Teh-fu (黃德福), Wang said.