The visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) to southern Taiwan yesterday met with demonstrations, with one protester attempting to set himself on fire.
Holding signs that read “kick Chen Deming out,” a group of protesters, led by the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s (TSU) Greater Tainan City chapter director Chen Chang-hui (陳昌輝), staged a rally outside Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s plant in the Tainan Science Park as Chen and his delegation took part in a tour of the facility.
Chen Chang-hui protested by burning a boat made of paper — a traditional ritual meant to drive away evil — but the fire was extinguished by police officers. Upset by the move, Chen Chang-hui poured fuel on his body in an apparent attempt to self-immolate, but was stopped by the officers and other protesters.
Chen Chang-hui said that Chen Deming may appear to have arrived on a boat of hope, however, he is only bringing a small amount of money as bait to elicit more money from Taiwan and is pressing for ratification of the service trade agreement.
Chen Chang-hui said he made a paper boat with pictures of Chinese leaders on it to burn, which would drive them away from Taiwan.
After the police officers put out the fire with hand-held fire extinguishers, Chen Chang-hui poured fuel on himself and shouted “let me do it to myself then.”
Other TSU members and the police restrained him before he could set himself on fire.
Earlier yesterday, when Chen Deming and his delegation arrived by car at the Port of Kaohsiung, a 63-year-old man, Hsu Ying-tung (徐英棟), tried to enter a restricted area to protest. He was stopped by police officers, taken to a police station and detained for 30 minutes as he did not have identification with him.
Chen Deming and his delegation toured the harbor on a boat which was flying a Republic of China flag. The boat passed close to a Taiwanese navy destroyer, with the weapons on the ship visible to the Chinese delegation.
In other news, a verbal clash broke out between the delegation and a Taiwanese media cameraman when a company that Chen Deming visited presented a gift to him.
The delegation’s official photographer stood up during the presentation, which blocked the view of the Taiwanese media. When the photographer was asked to move, the photographer said “I’m part of the delegation.”
A Taiwanese TV cameraman replied loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the room: “Are people from China better?”