Protests break out in Taipei over Ma-Xi summit

By Matthew Strong

Potesters took to the streets of Taipei Saturday to vent their anger over the summit being held in Singapore by President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Initial protests earlier in the week had called for the cancellation of the historic meeting, but as it went ahead, the focus changed to other issues, including a call to stop ongoing negotiations for a trade-in-goods agreement.

About 500 people gathered outside the Ministry of Economic Affairs, shouting slogans against Ma and against the “1992 Consensus,” which he emphasized at the summit with Xi.

Many critics in Taiwan, including former President Lee Teng-hui, say there never was a consensus during talks with China in Hong Kong in 1992. According to the government, both sides agreed to recognize that there was only “One China,” but that both sides could hold their own interpretation of what that China was.

The protesters said Taiwan was a sovereign and independent nation, and could never be treated as part of China. Doing so amounted to changing the status quo, protesters said, pointing out that the president did not hold the right to do so, especially since he was unpopular and had only six months left to govern.

The organizers said they were standing outside the MOEA because the economy was one front in China’s unification effort directed against Taiwan.

Photo credit to Susan
Photo credit to Susan

Later Saturday afternoon, the protest moved to Ketagalan Boulevard, the wide avenue in front of the Presidential Office Building.

Earlier, there had been separate protests near Taipei Songshan Airport, where Ma left early Saturday morning for his trip to Singapore. Over the past few days, protesters also appeared near the president’s residence, the Legislative Yuan and the Presidential Office Building.

Three activists who tried to enter Singapore to hand a protest note to the Taiwanese office there, were stopped at the airport, while two others, including a Taiwan Solidarity Union legislative candidate, were reportedly detained in the city state.

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