Thu, Feb 12, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Zhang Mingqing mulling hearing on incident in Tainan

ACROSS THE STRAIT A Chinese spokesman called for impartiality in the Tainan court's handling of the incident involving the ARATS deputy chairman

BEIJING  /  STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A Chinese envoy who suffered slight injuries during a confrontation with Taiwanese activists during a trip to Tainan in October is deciding whether he should return to attend a court hearing on the incident in April.

Zhang Mingqing (張銘清), vice chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, said during a telephone interview with the Central News Agency that he had not made a decision on the matter.

The Tainan District Court announced on Monday that a pre-trial hearing on the incident will be held on April 8, when Democratic Progressive Party Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), who is accused of leading the protest, will be summoned to appear at the hearing.

The court has also written to Zhang — who cut short his visit to Taiwan after the incident — to ask whether he will attend the hearing by traveling to Tainan or taking part in a teleconference, Tainan District Court spokesman Chen Hsien-jung (陳顯榮) said.

Meanwhile, Fan Liqing, (范麗青) spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said yesterday that Taipei should handle the incident impartially to maintain “normal exchanges” across the Taiwan Strait.

Fan told a news conference that Zhang had fully expressed his feelings and opinion on the incident during his stay in Taiwan, adding that “the violent attack” not only had been witnessed in person by many in Tainan public but also had been documented by the media.

She skirted questions from reporters as to whether Zhang would attend the hearing.

Zhang arrived in Taiwan on Oct. 19 as the head of a 22-member delegation to take part in an academic conference in Tainan in his capacity as dean of the school of journalism at Xiamen University in Fujian Province.

Zhang fell to the ground during a confrontation with pro-independence protesters during a visit to the Confucius Temple on Oct. 21.

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