ChenYunlin’svisittoTaipei
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<>The Democratic Progressive Party is planning to stage a number of rallies to protest a proposed visit to Taipei by Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait .He is scheduled to arrive here on or around October 31 for talks with his counterpart in Taipei P.K. Chiang, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation .The opposition party wants its supporters to take to the streets Friday as well as on November 1 and 2 to manifest their uncompromising opposition to the Chen visit and President Ma Ying-jeou’s “sell-Taiwan” Mainland policy.Incidentally, the ARATS and the SEF are organizations, governmental in fact, that are charged with conducting “non-governmental” relations between Taiwan and Mainland China.

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<>We wish the organizers of the protest rallies every success.They will let the Mainland Chinese official, who used to head the Taiwan Office of the State Council in Beijing, see, hear and understand – a little bit more at least – some people of Taiwan who are truly convinced their homeland should be an independent, sovereign state rather than part of China or a province of the People’s Republic. These people may be a minority.They may not consider themselves ethnically and culturally Chinese.But they have an inalienable right to voice their unshakable political belief anytime and anywhere they choose.

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<>There is one episode in the whole protest campaign we wish to complain about, however.Lawmakers of the opposition party made a form of address between Chen and President Ma and the display of our national flag a controversial issue.They insisted President Ma be not addressed as “Mr. Ma” and the national flag be displayed on the negotiating table when Chen and Chiang meet to exchange views on how to further improve relations across the Strait.

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<>It’s not even a petty issue.It’s a non-issue.There shouldn’t be any controversy, because it’s just a matter of course.

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<>Perhaps all the Democratic Progressive legislators conveniently forget Chen’s and Chiang’s predecessors met in China before. C.F. Koo, the first SEF chairman, met his Mainland Chinese opposite number Wang Daohan in Shanghai in 1998.After the Shanghai meeting, Koo went to Beijing to meet with Jiang Zeming, the president of the People’s Republic.We know of no record on how Koo and Jiang addressed each other, but are certain at least a national flag of the People’s Republic was on display somewhere – if not on the negotiating table – in Wang’s Shanghai office where he met Koo. President Lee Teng-hui was still in office at that time, and the opposition party then – which it is now – raised no objection whatsoever to the arrangements for the meetings in Shanghai as well as in Beijing.Is it possible that the now indignant pro-independence lawmakers had a collective change of mind to attach utmost importance to the national flag of the Republic of China, which they wish to call Taiwan?

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<>Don’t be silly.Let Chen Yunlin be treated in Taipei just as C. F. Koo was treated in Shanghai and Beijing.

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