A mess of white paint and joss paper greeted delegates to the second meeting between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in Greater Kaohsiung on Friday.
Protesters, including members of the Black Island National Youth Front and the Taiwan Solidarity Union, were already present and chanting slogans when Zhang’s vehicle arrived near the Sizihwan Sunset Beach Resort, the venue for the meeting.
“Taiwan’s future should be decided by Taiwanese,” “Zhijun came, and democracy died” and “We condemn police violence,” they shouted.
Protesters said the cavalcade resembled a funeral procession, as Zhang’s vehicle entered the resort slowly, flanked by security agents.
A student protester surprised the police by appearing suddenly and tossing ghost money at the convoy, but was soon taken away by police.
In the chaos, another protester splashed white paint at Zhang’s vehicle, hitting several security personnel, who were protecting the car.
The police opened up black umbrellas as protesters threw water at the car, making the scene further resemble a funeral.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) member Chen Chang-huei (陳昌輝) tried to force his way into the venue, but was blocked and removed by police, despite other TSU members wrestling with them.
In the commotion, Chen seemed to have tripped and hit his head on the ground. He lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital.
At least 400 policemen were dispatched to the site and an additional 66 special officers deployed.
The student who tossed the joss paper was injured by the police.
He said he did not belong to any group, and that he was merely an adult who cared about Taiwan’s future and wanted the public’s dissenting voices to be heard.
The group accused the police of turning into Chinese public security agents who protected a low-ranking Chinese official, but used violence against young Taiwanese.
After the Chinese guests finally got into the building, MAC Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) appeared outside the venue visibly angered.
He criticized council staff and demanded to speak to the police officer in charge, questioning why there was an insufficient police force present.
Chang then started to direct the police, ordering a SWAT team to stand by the door.
Yesterday, Zhang said the protests were “normal.”
“Taiwan is a pluralistic society where people hold a diversity of views. It’s normal. I believed that both sides of the Strait should adhere to a path of peaceful development in cross-strait relations and this is also mainstream public opinion,” Zhang said.
However, Zhang did not comment on the paint-splashing incident on Friday night.
Wang told reporters late on Friday night that he had told Zhang people protesting to make their voices heard is “a part of life in Taiwan,” and that he must get accustomed to it because Taiwan is a democratic society.
“I told him that this is pretty much what we experience in our daily lives. We are used to it. Now that he is head of the Taiwan Affairs Office, he has to understand Taiwan more,” Wang said.
For her part, Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said yesterday that people expressing their views in a non-peaceful manner is not the sort of hospitality that Taiwanese should show.
Additional reporting by Peng Hsien-chun
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local