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June 29, 2017

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DPP mayor criticizes Zhang protests

TAIPEI--Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu on Saturday criticized protests against a senior Chinese official as "non-peaceful" while her party emphasized the need to "faithfully convey the voice of Taiwan's people."

Demonstrations against Zhang Zhijun, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, grew increasingly violent on Friday.

Some vehicles in Zhang's motorcade and members of his security detail were splattered with white paint Friday night when he was on his way to an informal meeting in Kaohsiung with Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

Earlier in the day, a graduate student was injured when the police removed him and several other anti-Chinese protesters who tried to block Zhang's motorcade after the Chinese official's meeting with Chen, a senior figure in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

In a statement issued Saturday, however, the DPP put the onus on police, saying that the security measures surrounding Zhang's visit have "harmed (Taiwan's) democracy and human rights."

The party also threatened to hold the National Police Agency accountable at the Legislative Yuan.

Asked about the demonstrations, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that security should be enforced based on the principle of "minimum intervention" in order to not interfere with personal freedom and the freedom of speech.

"Faithfully conveying the voice of the people of Taiwan is paramount in any interaction between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait," she said.

Anti-Chinese demonstrators have shadowed Zhang almost everywhere he has gone since his arrival. Three stops on the last day of the Chinese official's itinerary were canceled after the incident on Friday night.

They included a planned trip on Saturday afternoon to a famous temple in Changhua County before Zhang was to wrap up his four-day visit to Taiwan.

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