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May 26, 2017

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Investment 'victims' vow to tail TAO minister during visit

TAIPEI--A group of Taiwanese investors who say they were victimized in China announced Monday that they will follow Zhang Zhijun, minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), wherever he goes during his Taiwan visit this week.

Zhang is scheduled to visit north, central, and southern Taiwan June 25 28 in a first-ever visit from China's top Taiwan policymaker. The visit is similar to one by his Taiwanese counterpart, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi, to China in February.

During his time in Taiwan, he can expect to see a lot of the group, whose name translates to the Alliance of Victimized Taiwanese Investors.

Huang Yueh-chao, a spokesman for the alliance, said at a Monday press conference that Zhang claimed he wants to hear voices from all walks of life in Taiwan. But he suggested the Chinese minister 'first and foremost listen to the voice of Taiwanese businessmen victimized in the mainland."

Huang said that at least 50 protesters from his alliance will rent a bus to "greet" Zhang when he arrives on Wednesday, and they and others will follow Zhang anywhere he goes up until his departure on Saturday.

Their protest will include banners on their bus, banners on balloons, people with signs and advertising boards, and a "petition team."

Huang noted that both sides of the Taiwan Strait inked an investment protection agreement in 2012, but the situation in China is still characterized by "the central government saying one thing and the local government doing another."

Local officials have turned a blind eye to the protection provided under the pact and "failed to do what they should have done," he said, lamenting the failure to enforce the pact that he called "wasted paper."

He added that the poor performance of the investment protection pact has left him wondering if there is even a need to sign the trade-in-services agreement and a future trade-in-goods agreement.

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