Protesters attack KMT over forum
It cannot represent island at talks, independence activists say
About 100 protesters from three pro-independence groups yesterday denounced a two-day economic forum between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party starting in Beijing tomorrow as 'selling out Taiwan'.
The protest was marked by an activist stripping to his underpants to signal that the KMT would lose everything by dealing with the Communist Party. It came a day ahead of honorary KMT chairman Lien Chan's departure at the helm of a 170-strong delegation for Beijing.
The event will be watched closely, mainly because of Sunday's planned meeting between Mr Lien and President Hu Jintao before the president heads to Washington for talks with his US counterpart, George W. Bush.
Waving banners bearing the word 'traitors' in front of the KMT office building, the pro-independence activists said it was unthinkable for Mr Lien to represent Taiwan at the forum and team up with the 'enemy'.
'How can the KMT unilaterally represent Taiwanese people at the forum? This will seriously confuse the international community into thinking that Taiwan is a part of China,' shouted Wang Hsien-chi, leader of the Taiwan Nation Movement, which organised the protest.
Referring to talks the KMT had held with the communists before the Nationalists were driven to Taiwan at the end of the civil war in 1949, Liu Yi-te, deputy secretary-general of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union, said the KMT had never learned the lesson that it would lose every time it talked with the party.
Pro-independence groups and the independence-leaning government of President Chen Shui-bian have heaped scorn on the forum, saying it is part of a two-faced tactic by Beijing to woo Taiwanese people after threatening to attack the island with missiles.
At tomorrow's opening session of the forum, Mr Lien and Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, will each give a 20-minute speech.
More than 100 Taiwanese business leaders and economists would discuss ways to improve the cross-strait economy and co-operation, said KMT officials.
It will be Mr Lien's second meeting with Mr Hu, following talks in Beijing last April when the two developed a five-point proposal to advance cross-strait peace, co-operation and economics.
However, the Chen administration has refused to give its stamp of approval for the proposal, saying government-to-government talks are necessary before Taipei can put them into practice.
After meeting Mr Hu, Mr Lien will head to Fuzhou on Monday to pay respects to his ancestors and then to Xiamen where he will receive an honorary doctorate at Xiamen University. He will also visit Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai before returning to Taipei on April 25.