Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan sovereignty backers protest at hotel

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A small group of pro-independence protesters gathers outside the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday, where representatives of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait were meeting.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

About 30 protesters armed with signs and slogans were cordoned off by plainclothes police outside the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday where a meeting between cross-strait negotiators was being held.

The gathering, led by the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, was part of ongoing protests the group has planned against all types of cross-strait meetings, with the protest’s leaders saying interactions have eroded Taiwanese sovereignty.

“Taiwan and China, each side is a different country,” chanted members of the group, most of whom were middle-aged or elderly, before several of them ripped up paper emblems of the Republic of China and People’s Republic of China combined on one flag.

The protesters were held back by a dozen plainclothes officers who cordoned the group into a small area outside the main gate of the hotel.

Prevented from entering the hotel, the protest’s leaders decided to hand a Straits Exchange Foundation official on the scene a pot filled with dried jasmine flowers and a bottle containing di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, the chemical at the center of the recent food scare in Taiwan.

The two items were chosen because they were representative of cross-strait relations, said Chang Ming-yu (張銘祐), an executive director of the alliance.

“The flowers represent Taiwan’s democracy and freedoms that are being taken away by closer interactions between Taiwan and China,” Chang said. “Meanwhile, DEHP products have been found only in Taiwan and not China — despite being made by the same company in one instance.”

It shows the cross-strait inequality and how in some cases inferior products are left in Taiwan while better products are exported across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

“We will continue to monitor and protest cross-strait discussions,” he said, echoing promises by other pro-independence group leaders to rally against cross-strait meetings, regardless of whether they are of business nature or other.

Earlier the alliance, the Northern Taiwan Society and other groups gathered at the legislature where, supported by a Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said cross-strait pacts have failed to make life better for most Taiwanese.

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