Groups protest ARATS
SHARED VIEWS: Students, TSU members and Falun
Gong practitioners began their wave of protests against the Chinese official
when he arrived at the airport
By Chris Wang and Mo Yan-chih / Staff reporters
Association of Relations Across
the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Deming, right, waves to journalists upon his
arrival yesterday at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan for an
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Anti-China activists display
placards as they protest yesterday outside Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
in Taoyuan as Chinese envoy Chen Deming arrives for an eight-day visit.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Activists from various groups yesterday
protested against a visit by the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan
Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) over concerns about the negative
impact of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
Protesters from the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and civic groups followed
Chen, who arrived in Taipei yesterday for an eight-day visit, at every stop,
including the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the Strait Exchange
Foundation’s (SEF) headquarters.
“Any cross-strait trade agreement should be transparent, monitored by the
legislature and the public and not to be handled by unofficial organizations
such as the SEF,” said Chen Ting-hao (陳廷豪), spokesperson of the Black Island
Nation Youth Front (BINYF), which is largely comprised of university students.
“We oppose the trade mechanism, including the service trade pact, the
soon-to-be-completed trade in goods agreement and the free economic pilot zones.
They will only benefit large enterprises and harm local sectors,” he added.
The BINYF demanded the government suspend the negotiations on a trade in goods
agreement with Beijing until the principle of reciprocal and fairness is
The group’s views reflected widespread concerns by the opposition and various
business sectors, which say that Beijing and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九)
administration intend to push the service trade pact through the Legislative
Yuan as soon as possible and that Chen Deming’s visit was likely a form of
The wave of protests began at about noon, with a group of students, TSU members
and Falun Gong practitioners shouting slogans and holding placards and banners
when Chen Deming appeared at the airport.
A student broke through police lines and got close to Chen Deming at the exit,
but was taken away by officers. More than 100 officers had been deployed at the
Chen Deming was greeted by SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) at the
airport, and attended a luncheon hosted by Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu
(吳志揚) while protesters were blocked outside the terminal.
He and his delegation later visited a free-trade harbor zone at the planned
Taoyuan Aerotropolis project and the Taipei harbor, and then met with SEF
Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) in the foundation’s building, where protesters were
There was a brief scuffle between protesters and police outside the building.
“The service trade agreement was a collaboration between the Chinese Nationalist
Party [KMT] and the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] to hollow out Taiwan service
industry’s competitiveness,” several TSU members said.
Chen Deming, who has visited Taiwan before, said he looks forward to
experiencing the nation’s beauty and great food.
As China continues to open its markets and facilitate the reform of the economic
system, he said businesses from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should enjoy
more opportunities and create more profits.
While his trip was aimed at promoting economic and trade cooperation between
Taiwan and China and seeking cooperation opportunities, the SEF and the ARATS
can also take the occasion to engage in follow-up negotiations on the Economic
Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), he said.
“The most important task across the Taiwan Strait is to promote the main items
of the ECFA, including the early harvest list, investment protection, service
trade, goods trade and dispute settlement. We should continue to work on it,” he
Taiwan’s free economic pilot zones, a project under which six harbors and the
planned Taoyuan Aerotropolis will be designated as models of liberation, are the
focus of Chen Deming’s trip.
Chen Deming’s delegation is to visit Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung
today, then travel to Greater Tainan, Chiayi County, Greater Taichung and
Hsinchu County, before returning to Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).
Senior KMT members, including former vice president and KMT chairman Lien Chan
(連戰) and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), and People First Party
Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will meet with Chen Deming during his trip.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said he would also meet with the Chinese
official and seek business opportunities for businesses in Taipei.