Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

DPP cities’ officials barred from Shanghai forum

PURELY ACADEMIC:All preparations for next year’s conference in Taichung are to be terminated following the rejection of its transportation bureau’s director-general

By Huang Chung-shan  /  Staff reporter

Officials from Taichung and Taoyuan — which are governed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — have been rejected from attending the Cross-Strait Academic Conference on Urban Traffic in Shanghai, sources said yesterday.

Officials from other cities and counties not governed by the DPP were not barred, the sources said, adding that it was another example of China’s suppression of Taiwan.

The academic conference started in 1993 in Shanghai and has been held 24 times in 24 cities in China and Taiwan since then.

This year, the conference is to be held from Aug. 21 to Aug. 23 at Kingswell Hotel Tongji, and is to be hosted by the Shanghai Institute of Traffic Engineering and Tongji University under the theme “transportation developments over a quarter century and future challenges.”

It is a purely academic conference for professors and students who study transportation to exchange ideas, the sources said, adding that no sensitive political issues are involved and that it is often attended by transportation professionals in academia and governmental agencies.

As China continues to suppress Taiwan diplomatically, it has even started interfering with academic activities, the sources added.

The directors-general of the Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan and Taichung transportation departments were originally invited to attend, but the Taipei Society for Traffic Safety — the organization in charge of leading the Taiwanese team — was informed by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office that the officials from Taichung and Taoyuan would not be allowed to attend, the sources said.

Taichung Transportation Bureau Director-General Wang Yi-chuan (王義川) criticized China for dividing Taiwan through academic activities and said that the city would stop preparations for hosting the conference next year.

Wang had planned to attend this year’s conference after receiving an invitation from the Taipei Society for Traffic Safety asking him to host a session, he said, adding that he had planned to introduce the nation to the audience when he receives the flag.

Having attended the conference five times as both a student and professor, Wang said he could not accept that after being invited, obtaining a Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents and being listed in the Taiwanese delegation, he is being deliberately rejected by the Chinese government.

He said he feels deeply sorry for China’s “immature behavior,” and that Taiwanese would not be defeated by its maliciously dividing behavior, but would become even more united.

In addition, all preparation work for holding the conference next year is to be terminated, Wang said.

Official cross-strait exchanges have stalled since President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to accept the so-called “1992 consensus” that Beijing considers to be the foundation for exchanges between the two nations.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Tsai and her DPP deny that a consensus ever existed and object to it because they see it as forcing the nation to accept the idea that it is a part of China, a notion many Taiwanese reject.

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