Thu, Dec 23, 2010 - Page 3 News List

CROSS-STRAIT TALKS: Officials blast over-the-top treatment of ARATS chairman

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit yesterday to the Flora Expo site, which opened one hour early to accommodate the envoy and was cordoned off by a large police detachment to keep protesters at bay, highlighted the quasi--presidential treatment he received during his three-day visit, critics said.

Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said even senior government dignitaries were not extended such courtesies.

“Chen’s arrangements almost feel like some high central government figure was touring the country … Even prime ministers don’t receive the same [level of treatment],” Hsieh said.

This was not the first time a visit by Chen has been criticized for the lavishness of his reception. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials have blasted the National Police Agency for dispatching thousands of officers during all three of his visits, which occurred in November 2008, December last year and this week.

Chen is a former head of the Taiwan Affairs Office and a standing committee member at the Political Consultative Conference, Beijing’s political advisory committee. His visits to Taiwan have taken place under his chairmanship of the semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

His status, and why he would be accorded meetings with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in November 2008 and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) on Tuesday, has also come into question.

DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) likened the treatment afforded the Chinese envoy to -“presidential-level courtesy.”

Visiting heads of state wouldn’t receive such protection, he said.

“We don’t understand what kind of person the government takes Chen Yunlin for,” he said.

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