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September 21, 2017

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Student activist slams DPP's China stance

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Student activist leader Dennis Wei (魏揚) yesterday stated his disappointment in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regarding the recent visit of a high-ranking Chinese official, adding that he "was not surprised" by the main opposition party's reaction.

Wei's remarks were made after Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) concluded his four-day visit to Taiwan on Saturday. Though Zhang stated that he had an enjoyable visit, the trip was riddled with protests from Taiwan-independence advocates, citizen and student activist groups.

The protests grew increasingly violent on Friday, when several cars in Zhang's motorcade and even members of his security team were splattered with white paint, just before joining his China Affairs Council counterpart Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) for a meal in Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) then criticized the protests, saying they were not peaceful, even though her party stressed that it was essential for the people to convey their voices in the proper way.

"This isn't the way for Taiwanese people to treat its guests," said Chen.

Earlier on Friday, a graduate student was injured after the police tried to remove him and his fellow protesters from Zhang's path, when the latter was leaving in his motorcade after meeting Chen. DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) commented on the incident, saying that the police should keep control of security measures and should not restrict personal freedom or freedom of speech.

In a statement issued on Saturday the DPP targeted police who were attempting to stop the protests, saying that the security measures surrounding Zhang's visit have "harmed (Taiwan's) democracy and human rights."

Wei stated his disappointment with the DPP's reaction and overall attitude toward Zhang's visit.

"The DPP has not made their stance regarding China clear; everything is ambiguous. People have even been saying that the party's Taiwan Independence clause should be frozen ... when (we) were protesting against the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, we already felt that the DPP's attitude was vague," said Wei.

"In recent years, several DPP politicians have been friendly with China when it comes to trade and economic relations, some were forced to take the other side when the Sunflower Movement began. When it comes to being Beijing-friendly, many politicians share the same views because of the same benefits," Wei declared.

The party and its political leaders should stop pretending relate to the social movements in Taiwan, said Wei. "If they are truly sincere, they should make clear their stance regarding China and the supposedly mutually beneficial relationship with China, so they can be trusted. Otherwise, this will be an ambiguous struggle. Chen, for one, should clarify her attitude toward the Free Economic Pilot Zones," said Wei.

Wei's mother Yang Tsui (楊翠), a professor in Tunghua University, also stated that she was not surprised by the DPP's attitude. "I am not surprised but I can relate to the DPP, as it is the "lesser party" that knows that it will not win in the Legislature votes, where they hold less seats ... but there are a lot of ways to express one's stance and opinions. The reason why so many students and citizens are stepping out for the nation is that (the DPP) isn't trying hard enough," said Yang.

(Related story on page 16)

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