Some 300 Taiwanese-Americans demanded independence for Taiwan and chastised China for its missile buildup against Taiwan in a demonstration in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Thursday as presidents George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao (
Carrying signs reading, "One Taiwan, One China," "Down With Chinese Missiles," and "Taiwan, a Sovereign Nation," the demonstrators projected a festive air as they stood out amid a sea of protestors including Falun Gong members and supporters, Tibetans and Chinese human rights activists.
US congressman Scott Garrett, a member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, sent a letter to the demonstration, saying he "finds it disconcerting that the United States rolls out the red carpet for the unelected President of China ... yet the democratically elected President of Taiwan is held at bay."
"It is my hope," Garrett continued, "that the State Department will reconsider its self-imposed rules that bar Taiwanese officials including the President, Premier and Foreign Minister from coming to Washington."
Formosan Association for Public Affairs president Lee Ching-tai (
Standing "a few feet from the White House, the ultimate symbol of democracy," Lee noted, "a non-democratically elected president named Hu is now visiting the White House. Mr. Hu intends to show Mr Bush that China would like to be a responsible stakeholder," Lee said, using a phrase introduced last year by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick.
"Mr Hu, if so, why do you set up 800 missiles targeting a free democratic Taiwanese people?" he said.