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September 24, 2017

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Sunflower leaders protest TAO official's visit

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Sunflower movement student leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday led dozens of people to protest outside the Novotel near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport against the meeting between Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Zhang Zhijun and Chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Wang Yu-chi.

Zhang, as China's most senior official ever to visit Taiwan, arrived on Wednesday to start his four-day trip. Zhang met up with Wang inside the Novotel yesterday afternoon, and over 100 protestors occupied three different exits of the hotel but they were kept from entering by police.

Lin, Chen and other protestors held red cards and yelled out "red card for the meeting of Wang and Zhang" and "complete the legislation for the cross-strait agreement supervisory act before negotiating" outside of the hotel during the meeting yesterday.

Meanwhile, based on the Facebook page of Democracy Tautin, members of the group and the Democratic Front Against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement stayed in Novotel on Tuesday night, preparing to protest against the meeting of Wang and Zhang on Wednesday.

However, on Wednesday morning, Democracy Tautin said that a group of people in black who claimed to be customer service agents of the hotel broke into the rooms, which triggered an argument.

Democracy Tautin said that the police did not give any reasons for why they broke into their hotel rooms, and police even claimed that their actions were legal which was a lie to cover up their use of violence.

According to Democracy Tautin, they will work harder to stop the government from using inappropriate violent actions and protect Taiwan's future of freedom and democracy.

Official Response to the Incident

Aviation Police Bureau (APB) yesterday said that the hotel manager and security guards were the people who attempted to break into the rooms to ask the guests who refused to register their names to leave.

According to the APB, there were police officers who happened to be at the scene when the security officers of the hotel attempted to enter the hotel rooms by force, so the officers took action to collect evidence, which led to the misunderstanding that police officers intended to break into the rooms.

The two previously met in China's eastern city of Nanjing in February in the first government-to-government talks since Taiwan and the mainland split 65 years ago after a brutal civil war.

Wednesday's visit marks the most senior-level talks between the two sides to take place in Taiwan.

According to Wang, the TAO delegation will meet with his council to discuss the development of cross-strait ties, economic cooperation, regional economic integration and progress on establishing reciprocal representative offices.

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