Lawmakers across party lines yesterday urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lodge a protest against China over reports that a Taiwanese student in South Korea was harassed by a group of Chinese students for displaying a Republic of China (ROC) flag.
Local media reported yesterday that the Taiwanese student, surnamed Lin (林), at South Korea’s Silla University in Busan, received first prize in a Korean-language speech contest. However, after the contest, Lin was chased and besieged by a group of Chinese contestants who were angry over Lin showing an ROC flag during the speech, they said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓) said Taipei should complain to the host and the Beijing government, and investigate whether officials at the Taiwanese representative office in South Korea were guilty of dereliction of duty in handling the matter.
“It was regretful that this happened ahead of the upcoming cross-strait talks. The government should lodge a protest [with Chinese authorities] during the cross-strait talks,” Chou said.
Describing the incident as “outrageous,” KMT Legislator Shyu Jong-shyoung demanded the administration condemn the Beijing government and its people for their unfriendly behavior.
The government also has to voice its protest with the Seoul government if it failed to protect the Taiwanese student, Shyu said.
“There was nothing wrong with displaying our national flag or whatever the Taiwanese student said in her speech. Freedom of expression is a right that we enjoy. The Chinese might not like it, but they can’t stop us from upholding this value,” Shyu said.
KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said Beijing should apologize although she believed that it was an isolated incident.
“Displaying the national flag was normal behavior as it represents the country. Any normal person would do the same thing,” Yang said.
Ministry Spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said the Busan representative office would look into the matter, adding that the organizers had said there was no report of violence and that the media might have exaggerated it.
The ministry is in contact with Lin to clarify what happened, Chen said.
“We will do what needs to be done,” Chen said. “However, we must have a clear picture of the incident before taking any action such as lodging a protest.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers blamed the incident on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “diplomatic truce,” which they said was a form of self-denigration and humiliation designed to please Beijing.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said what happened in Busan was a “typical example” of the failure of Ma’s diplomatic policy.
“If our own government doesn’t even care about safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, why should the citizens of any other country respect Taiwan? What the Chinese students did was indirectly permitted by Ma,” he said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said despite the so-called truce, tensions between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait were worse than ever “because Chinese hostility toward Taiwan has spread from the government down to the individual level.”
“Ma’s weak stand when confronted with China has made Chinese students overseas feel it’s perfectly fine to oppress Taiwanese students in non-political venues,” she said.
“Ma kept saying the cross-strait détente will help bridge understanding between the two sides, but the reality is, it has only made the Chinese think we are easy pickings,” she said.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South