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Oct 21, 2008

Chinese official Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) pushed in Tainan

This post will be continually updated all day.

A Chinese official, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清), was possibly pushed/kicked/punched by protesting Green supporters at the Confucian temple in Tainan when visiting today. Made the front page of The Beijing News.

Video 2: I hear this one confirms there was a push, but can't confirm it myself. Can anybody help?
Video 3: BBC's

Update: Media outlets have no consensus on the exact method of assault, but it appears he was at least chased down by protesters. Update: more extensive word on Zhang's injuries from TVBS. And Zhang will sue!

Apparently, his arm was injured and he was kicked a few times on the ground. Update: from Max Hirsch, via Michael Turton:

Local TV footage showed the envoy, his hair and clothes disheveled, struggling to get back on his feet and grasp for his eyeglasses, which had fallen off his face amid the kerfuffle.

At one point, a protester climbed onto Zhang's car and stomped on the roof and hood, while a short elderly woman [swung] feebly at the vehicle with her yellowed crutch. Security personnel appeared in short supply, and sometimes completely absent, as the mob encircled Zhang several times.
Also from Michael Turton's site, more from CNN:
Pictures from Taiwan TV stations showed about a dozen protesters surrounding Zhang at a Tainan temple commemorating Confucius, then toppling him to the ground while shouting anti-communist and pro-independence slogans.

"Taiwan does not belong to China," protesters shouted.

Zhang was helped to his feet by an escort and rushed to a waiting vehicle. A middle-aged man stomped and banged on the vehicle but did not attempt to prevent it from leaving the scene.

The attack on Zhang comes several weeks before a planned visit by Chen Yun-lin, Zhang's boss and the point man in pushing for unity across the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.
The Presidential office denounced the jostling; DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed regret, took responsibility, and will send down a directive to DPP party members to refrain from all violence (no word yet on if the attackers were actually DPP members).

KMT Legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) demanded an apology; DPP legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said there's no need to be polite to "the enemy."

Update: Vice Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏) said that Taiwan's democracy is its greatest weapon, but that this incident showed Taiwan's democratization had resulted in "brutalization," and that if this kind of thing continued Taiwan would have no road left but surrender (I find this logic really confusing).

Update: Tainan city councilor Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) claimed that Zhang just tripped on a tree root and was not attacked (seems implausible to me, but I haven't seen video). TVBS is trying to link Wang as closely with any potentially violent protestors as possible, though he seems to have helped Zhang up the second he tripped/was pushed, according to Maddog.

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) promised this would not affect the coming trip of Chen Yunlin Chen Yunlin (陈云林), chairman of the ARATS.

Further update: AP is on the case, filing a report on this incident in English. It gives a good feel for the protesters' views. Judging from the composition of the article, it looks like the protesters successfully stole the headline from Ma's speech about cross-strait peace today.

Yet another update:
From the way UDN is talking, Lien Chan and UDN itself will not be happy until these people are arrested (the Tainan police are on the case, now questioning DPP Tainan city councilor Wang Ting-yu and the guy who stood on Zhang's his car, Lin Chin-hsun (林進勳), and I do expect some arrests).

China is not pleased either. See comments from QQers on this topic here. TVBS finds a Chinese visitor who calls Taiwan "too free."

I got an email update from Tim Maddog, who is always on top of these things. Here's his perspective:
I've seen the video about a million times so far, and unless somebody used some movie-magic qigong (氣功), Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) was *not* pushed. As usual, most of the accusations against the pro-Taiwan side are being exaggerated.

In fact, Tainan city council member Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) immediately helped Zhang get up. SET News, ignoring their own reporting, is still calling it a "暴力推倒事件" (violent pushing incident) -- exactly the way the government media outlets in China are describing it. "Green media," my ass!

There was, however, one guy who jumped on top of Zhang's car and stomped on the roof and a woman behind the car using a crutch to hit the trunk and/or the rear window.
Some background on this visit from ICRT:
The visiting deputy head of China's quasi-official cross-strait negotiating
body has been followed by protesters and heckled and told to "get lost" and
"go back to China" since his arrival in Taiwan yesterday.

Zhang Ming-qing - the Vice President of the Beijing-based Association for
Relations Across the Taiwan Straits is in Taiwan to attend an academic
seminar at the Tainan National University of the Arts.

The Chinese official was heckled on his arrival at Gaoxiong International
Airport and Sunday evening .. and met with more protests yesterday when he
took to the podium to address the seminar.

Two students from the National Zheng-Gang University tried to disrupt Zhang's
speech .... shouting "Taiwan is independent and not a part of China" before
they were removed from the seminar by security personnel.

In the wake of the protests, university authorities have decided to cancel
all of Zhang's public appearances in Taiwan over the next two days.


MJ Klein said...

i find the mentality that the "attacker" must be a DPP party member. it seems that over and over it's reported that the vast majority of Taiwanese of any flavor to not favor becoming part of China.

MJ Klein said...

i meant to day that i find it illogical.

Anonymous said...

It's Zhang's word against Wang's at the moment. Before we see any real evidence, why do we think that DPP is less believable? KMT has been very good at making things up or sending their own people to create havoc in pro-Taiwan or pro-democracy protests and blame it on pro-Taiwan people in the past. It is illogical and unfair to jump at DPP every time there's a conflict.

When Su An-Sheng attacked Hsu and Chen, I didn't see the government denouncing or condemning violence in such a timely fasion, if at all. In fact, Su was made a guest in the Double Ten Day celebration. I wonder what kind of standard the government sticks to. It seems to me that Blue violence towards Green is not only OK but rewarded; Green violence towards towards Blue is just bad, bad, bad.

yuh said...

This ill-educated Taiwanese's democraticy.

Haitien said...

Violence (if it occurred) is regrettable, but given Zhang's position as supporting Beijing's oppressive Taiwan policies, did he expect to be welcomed with open arms? And was Ma foolish enough to believe that people wouldn't take it on themselves to make their displeasure known, even as his administration continuously caves to Beijing?

Anonymous said...

Michael Turton has the latest update. Zhang was not pushed or attacked.

From a close footage, DPP's Wang did not push Zhang, at least not on purpose. When Wang turned around, his arm accidentally knocked Zhang (Wang's face was already facing the other way). Zhang was backing away from people at the same time and he may have stepped on something and lost his balance. From all the photos, you can see roots of the huge trees around there. I used to live in Tainan and have been there several times. As far as I remember, there were a lot of big roots exposed on the ground around that place.

Zhang has used verbal and psychological violence against Taiwan and China has never given up military threats. Now with this toxic milk crisis, Ma has not only failed to protect Taiwanese interests but behaved like a accomplice. Why wouldn't Taiwanese feel angry?