Airport protest against top Chinese official’s visit
TAIWANESE shouting anti-communist slogans staged an airport protest yesterday against a visit by a top Shanghai official which they see as intended to promote China’s unification with Taiwan.
Sha Hailin, a standing committee member of the Communist Party in the city and head of the United Front Work Department there, is the highest-level mainlander to visit since cross-strait ties worsened under Taiwan’s new government.
He arrived in Taipei for an annual forum on municipal exchanges as protesters shouted “Sha, go back to China!” at Songshan airport in Taipei.
Dozens of demonstrators waved placards reading “Expel propaganda communist, defend Taiwan’s sovereignty” and “[Taipei mayor] Ko Wenje sells out Taiwan”.
While most demonstrators were cordoned off, one man holding a poster got into the airport arrivals hall and shouted “Sha Hailin, get out!” as Mr Sha walked by. The protester scuffled briefly with police before being taken away.
Mr Sha heads the visiting delegation in place of Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong.
Relations with China have grown increasing frosty since Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party won the presidency in January. Beijing is highly suspicious of Ms Tsai because of her party’s traditionally pro-independence stance. –