Chinese Delegate Gets Roughed Up In Taiwan
Zhang Mingqing, vice president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (海峡两岸关系协会) - an association set up for handling technical and business matters with Taiwan - was assaulted by a group of emotional pro-independence activists and local officials during a visit to the Confucius Temple in Tainan City in southern Taiwan last Tuesday. Check out the footage on Youtube here.
The incident, while not likely to have any lasting impacts on cross-straight relations, was one of the most brazen attacks by Taiwanese pro-independence activists against a top mainland official in a long while. Zhang can be seen visibly caught off guard as protesters lunged towards his delegation, grabbing his clothes and yelling, “Taiwan is not a part of China!”. At one point Zhang falls to the ground and is swiftly escorted to his car for cover, which is them stomped on by a stoic holdover. The image is galvanizing, considering the feverish pitch of the protesters.
Zhang ended up cutting short the trip and left the island the next day, citing medical reasons. Subsequently, seven members of a Chinese delegation that were slated to attend the 2008 Taipei International Travel Fair canceled their plans to attend the Oct. 31-Nov.3 event citing safety concerns.
I don’t see how this minor scuffle would have any major negative affects on continued cross-straight development and opening-up. It is inevitable for small coteries of pro-independence protesters to try and disrupt President Ma Ying-jeou’s policies of greater engagement with Beijing. As Taiwan becomes more integrated with the mainland and mainlanders travel to Taiwan in greater numbers, I think you’ll see small pockets of resistance from passionate pro-Taiwanese supporters continue.