Thousands of fans packed a Taipei stadium to watch the island's first concert staged by mainland singers and rock bands, reports said yesterday, in the latest sign of warming ties.
The concert, organised by the Chinese Music Chart and dubbed China's Grammy Awards, saw some 60 bands and singers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan perform before screaming fans on Saturday, but also drew dozens of anti-China demonstrators.
The protesters chanted pro-independence slogans and waved anti-Beijing banners outside the stadium, television reports showed, but they were unable to interrupt the concert which included performances by singer Han Geng and actress Zhang Ziyi.
Without the prior approval of Taiwanese authorities, organisers of the Chinese Music Chart unilaterally announced last month that an awards ceremony would be held in Taipei for the first time since it was set up nearly two decades ago.
The plan drew fire from the island's opposition, prompting the award organisers to change the presentation ceremony to a concert at the demand of Taiwanese authorities.
"[The concert] is part of Chinese communist … tactics against Taiwan people, and we're here to voice our desire that we don't want to be ruled by China," said protester Tsai Ting-kui, according to a report in the Liberty Times.
Beijing insists Taiwan is part of China. The island has ruled itself for more than 60 years after their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.
However, Taiwan's ties with the mainland have improved markedly since President Ma Ying-jeou of the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang came to power in 2008. He was re-elected in January for a second and final four-year term.