Oct 27, 2008

Taiwan: Anti-China Protest

Active ImageThousands march in Taipei to demonstrate their discontent with Taiwanese – Chinese policies.
Below is an article published by Bloomberg.com:

Taiwan's opposition party staged a rally in Taipei today [24 October 2008] to protest President Ma Ying-Jeou's China policies which they claimed will threaten the sovereignty of the island.
About half a million people joined the demonstration, said Cheng Wen-Tsang, a spokesman for the Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP. A police estimate wasn't immediately available.
The mostly green-clad demonstrators marched through the streets of Taipei waving banners that read "Safeguard Taiwan'', "Oppose Toxic Products'' and "Say No to China.'' Green is the color of the opposition party.
"We want to give the government a warning we don't like its policies,'' DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-Wen said. The opposition party accused Ma of failing to stand up to China over the tainted milk scandal on the mainland and not protecting Taiwan's sovereignty.
This is the second DPP protest march since Ma's administration came into power in May [2008] and comes two weeks before a visit by China's chief negotiator Chen Yunlin scheduled for Nov. 3 [2008]
"The DPP is demonstrating for the sake of doing so as they need these events to boost the morale of members,'' said Yang Tai-Shuenn, a political science professor at Chinese Culture University in Taipei. "The DPP would still protest even if Chen Yunlin weren't coming to Taiwan.''
Chen heads China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, a semi-official body that holds discussions and maintains contact with Taiwan in the absence of formal relations between the two governments.
Mainland Negotiator
"We don't want welcome Chen Yunlin. We don't like him,'' said Simon Hsu, who co-owns a construction firm in Taipei. "His visit is a sign of reunification talks and Ma will sell out,'' said Hsu, waving a flag that reads "China and Taiwan -- one country on one side''.
Beijing claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory, and has threatened to invade if Taiwan declares formal independence. Taiwan and China have been ruled separately since Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces retreated to the island in 1949 during a civil war with Mao Zedong's Communists.
Relations between the island and China have been warming since Ma took office on May 20 [2008]. The administration has arranged a series of high-profile meetings between leaders from both sides of the Straits, started regular non-stop weekend flights and opened the doors to mainland tourists.
The opposition DPP party accuses Ma being too conciliatory in dealing with China. Taiwan this year dropped its bid for United Nations membership for the first time since 1993, and instead sought to join UN-affiliated agencies to avoid direct confrontation with China. The attempt was unsuccessful.
"Ma has good intentions as he hopes closer ties with China will help boost Taiwan's economy, but so far we don't know what his plans are,'' Alan Chang, an engineer, who was at the rally with his mother and wife, said. "Taiwan should remain separate from China and his pro-China policies may hurt our sovereignty.''
Taiwan's trade surplus with China in 2007 was $70.6 billion, up from $28.5 billion in 2000, according to government data. Taiwanese companies and individuals have invested as much as $648.7 billion in China, the island's biggest trading partner and investment destination as of end 2007. Investments in China make up about 61 percent of outbound investments.
Tainted Milk    
Protestors had a float with three deers, which means "Sanlu'' in Chinese, dragging a milk bottle with the world "Made in China'' to signify their anger over the export of melamine-tainted milk powder to Taiwan. Sanlu Group Co. is the Chinese producer of the tainted milk powder that killed four babies in China and sickened three in Taiwan.
The protestors want Ma to demand an apology and compensation for exporting melamine-tainted milk to Taiwan.
Ma said he will address the tainted milk issue with China and assured the people he "will not betray Taiwan'', in a television broadcast today where he was at an exhibition to promote 'Made in Taiwan' products.
About 5,000 police, including secret service officers, were at the rally, according to the Taipei city police department. Secret police, wearing bullet-proof vests, surrounded former president Chen Shui-bian who joined the rally.
The former leader, who was once chairman of the DPP, and his wife quit the party in September [2008] after they were implicated in a money-laundering and corruption scandal.