Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) traveled to Pingtung County yesterday to visit a biotechnology park, with protesters following him at every stop.
Chen, who is in Taiwan for an eight-day visit, first listened to a briefing by Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park director Huang Jin-cheng (黃金城).
Huang said there are currently 73 manufacturers in the park and the number could reach 80 by the end of year. Agricultural exports produced there are distributed to more than 30 countries worldwide.
Huang added that the park is working with the country’s planned “free economic pilot zones,” with the next stage of development focusing on animal-use vaccines, aquarium fish, and processed agricultural and fishery products.
Chen listened carefully, took notes and asked questions about the rents for manufacturers wishing to set up in the park.
Prior to his arrival at the park, members of the Falun Gong movement unfurled a banner outside the facility to protest China’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
Falun Gong members and local civic groups opposed to a proposed cross-strait service trade agreement also staged protests at the high-speed rail station in Greater Kaohsiung, when Chen arrived there en route to Pingtung, but were kept at bay by police.
Chen made no comment in response to the Falun Gong protest. However, he said he has seen people with signs protesting the service trade agreement.
“I don’t know how many people they represent as there are hundreds of thousands of people in Taiwan,” he said, adding that from Taiwan’s long-term perspective, he believes that the majority of Taiwanese would support the trade agreement.
Additional reporting by staff reporter Chiu Chih-juo