Wed, Nov 05, 2008 - Page 3 News List

CROSS-STRAIT TALKS: Filmmaker taken into custody as protests continue

By Mo Yan-chih, Jenny W. Hsu And Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Protests continued around Taipei yesterday as China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) spent his second day in Taiwan.

At 10am, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City caucus released balloons bearing the slogan “Taiwan, My Country” and set off 1,200 firecrackers at Dajia Riverside Park. The noise attracted the attention of police stationed at the nearby Grand Hotel, who rushed to investigate.

Huang Chin-lin (黃慶林), director of the DPP’s Taipei branch, said the party would continue protesting against Chen “with creative methods” and make sure Taiwanese people’s feelings about China were heard.

DPP Taipei City councilors Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) and Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) were also stopped by the police as they tried to make their way to the hotel after visiting the Martyrs’ Shrine at the foot of the hill on which the Grand Hotel stands.

“Our purpose is to place flowers at the tomb honoring the martyrs who died in the civil war between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party in 1949,” Wu said.

“These martyrs committed suicide after being defeated by the Chinese communists in Shanxi Province,” Wu said. “Chen Yunlin, a Chinese communist, is now staying at the Grand Hotel right above where they are buried.”

Other pro-independence supporters continued their sit-in protest near the Legislative Yuan against Chen’s visit.

“China is one country, Taiwan is another country,” the protesters shouted. “Chen Yunlin, get out of Taiwan. You are not welcome.”

Meanwhile, more than 500 Falung Gong practitioners held a demonstration in front of Taipei Main Station to protest against Chen’s visit and urge the government to resist the “temptations” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The protest, unlike others that have taken place this week, was not heavily monitored by the police.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists, which on Monday accused the government of restricting press freedom, yesterday lashed out again after one of its members was taken into police custody outside the Grand Hotel.

“I went to the Grand Hotel to visit a friend in the morning, after passing through two police checkpoints on the way with no problem,” said the independent documentary filmmaker, who asked to be identified only as “Miss Chen.”

After staying with her friend for around two hours, Miss Chen encountered a convoy of vehicles as she left the hotel.

“I suppose it was Chen Yunlin leaving the hotel — I’m not sure,” she said. “As a filmmaker, I always carry my video recorder with me, so I taped some footage.”

After the convoy had left, police officers surrounded her and asked to see her national ID card and the video she had recorded, she said.

She refused, but police continued to ask her to show her ID. They told her to turn off the video camera and tried to grab it from her, Miss Chen said.

“They told me that it was a restricted area and I could not videotape in the area — but no one told me so at the two police checkpoints on the road leading to the hotel, and there were many tourists taking pictures or videotaping,” Miss Chen told a news conference.

After her firm refusal to show her ID, the police forced her into a police car and took her to a nearby police station.

The police only allowed Miss Chen to leave when DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) showed up.

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