Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party has expelled two senior members for defying the party's ban on attending a cross-strait forum in Hunan this month, despite strong criticism. The move has sparked fresh debate over whether the pro-independence party should revise its policy and be more open to the mainland. A six-member panel formed by the DPP Central Advisory Committee ruled yesterday that former legislator Hsu Jung-shu and former Council of Agriculture minister Fan Chen-tzung must be immediately expelled for hurting the party's reputation. 'After an investigation, we found that Fan Chen-tzung and Hsu Jung-shu did not repent over what they had done and even continued to make remarks to hurt the party,' Chen Chin-teh, the committee's convener, said. 'For this, we decided to expel them.' On Thursday, the committee decided to suspend the membership of the two for three years. But shortly after the decision, the two attacked the party for being unfair because they were not the only members having contacts with the mainland. They identified Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, who visited the mainland in May, and several other DPP heavyweights who had business connections with the mainland. Ms Hsu, a founding member of the DPP, lashed out at the party on Thursday for bowing to the pressure of a hardcore pro-independence faction, which strongly objected to a more liberal policy towards the mainland. The 71-year-old was unavailable for comment yesterday because she was overseas. However, Mr Fan said if his expulsion could help 'unite the party and make it work out a China policy closer to public opinions and acceptable to Taiwanese people, I would feel proud for being expelled'. The expulsion of the two triggered sharp criticism from veteran DPP members and party bigwigs, who believed it was necessary for the party - which lost power to the Kuomintang in last year's presidential election - to review its restrictive mainland policy if it hoped to become the ruling party again. 'The party has always used China's united front tactics against Taiwan as an excuse to stop contacting China,' said former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui. 'If it chose to become a bubble party, it could always shun contacts with the Chinese communists and never set foot on the mainland.'