Chen, who left for Beijing on Thursday, returned on Sunday night to cheers from her supporters and protests from a number of pro-independence groups unhappy with her trip.In China Chen Chu had referred to President Ma as "President Ma", something that KMT politicians negotiating with the CCP in the PRC had conspicuously avoided. The criticism of Chen Chu by her own side is just plain bizarre, and shows how stupid and self-defeating the Greens can be. Note also that Minister Yeh, off in Geneva for the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, criticized Chen Chu for "betraying" Taiwan. Irony meters must be exploding all over the island.
The Taiwan Southern Society, the Taiwan Society Hakka and a number of pro-independence groups that had urged Chen to scrap the trip said they would boycott her re-election bid next year.
A member of “the 908 Taiwan Nation Movement” sitting in seats reserved for the public at the city council yesterday held up two posters criticizing Chen for not stating that Taiwan and China are two different countries while on her trip.
While meeting Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong (郭金龍) last week, Chen mentioned “President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] of the central government,” winning praise from politicians across party lines in Taiwan.
Asked yesterday about the resulting criticism from some civic groups, Chen said she respected their opinions because Taiwan is a democracy.
However, she added, “I’m also an independence activist. I was imprisoned for my pro-independence beliefs,” she said.
She declined to comment on whether she thought that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should adjust any of its China policies or that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should visit China.
Independent Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源) praised Chen at yesterday’s council session and urged her to be “brave” in the face of criticism.
Meanwhile, Chen called on Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), who yesterday said Chen’s trip to China was a “betrayal” of Taiwan, to retract his comment.
“[Yeh’s attendance at] the Wolrd Health Assembly and my [trip to China] are completely different. He should shoulder responsibility for what happened there. I hope he will take back his criticism of me,” Chen said on the sidelines of the session.
Chen Chu's visit also shows that contrary to the claims of the international media, the DPP is quite willing to engage with China -- as we all knew anyway -- they just not are willing to engage at the expense of Taiwan's sovereignty, as Ma and the KMT are. Good politics and good political theatre on Chen Chu's part.
United Daily News (UDN), the reliably pro-KMT paper, offered a poll on the visit, which noted overwhelming support for Chen Chu. Polls here aren't exactly reliable.
Chen Chu is an old independence activist, one of the Kaohsiung 8 arrested after the international human rights day protest in Dec of 1979.
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