Hundreds of angry protesters massed outside Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou’s office on Saturday, condemning his warm exchange with China’s leader in a summit that has fuelled fears the democratic islan
Hundreds of angry protesters massed outside Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou’s office on Saturday, condemning his warm exchange with China’s leader in a summit that has fuelled fears the democratic island will be swallowed up by its giant rival.
The talks have been hailed as a historic opportunity to end decades of hostility between the two sides which split after a civil war, but there has been a backlash among Taiwanese suspicious over Mr Ma’s rapprochement policy.
Angry demonstrators tried to storm Parliament overnight and 27 were arrested at the airport on Saturday as Mr Ma headed to a summit his opponents say is a sell-out to Beijing which is bent on expanding its influence.
Later, up to 500 protesters, representing an array of groups including farmers, rights activists and environmentalists, raged over the cordial get-together at a Singapore hotel where Mr Ma told China’s leader Xi Jinping that they already “feel like old friends”.
“How can he... Without any negotiation go to meet with the leader of our enemy I believe this is getting to the level of treason,” said Lin Hsiu-hsin, vice chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors.
Protest leaders were infuriated by Mr Xi’s comments that the two sides are “a family” that can never be divided — a reference to the mainland’s unchanging position that Taiwan is a breakaway province awaiting reunification.
“Xi Jinping said we belong to one China. Can you accept it ” Lee Ken-cheng from the Beijing-sceptic environmentalist Green Party bellowed to the crowd. “No!” they roared back.
Ties with China have blossomed under Mr Ma, a lame-duck leader as presidential elections loom in January, but the economy remains in the doldrums .