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Beijing mayor visits Taiwan amid protests
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Feb 16, 2012

Beijing's mayor arrived in Taiwan Thursday, officials said, amid protests from dozens of anti-China activists who labelled him a "human rights villain".

Guo Jinlong, who is the highest ranking Chinese official to visit the island since the re-election of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou last month, was flanked by about 200 policemen after he arrived at Taoyuan airport.

But the tight security cordon did not dissuade the Tibetan and Falungong protesters who shouted anti-China slogans and unveiled protest banners at the airport's arrival lobby.

Television images showed an emotional Tibetan activist being carried away by four policemen in uniform. He was later released.

The police also blocked dozens of Falungong members, a spiritual movement outlawed by the Chinese authorities, who earlier in the day filed a lawsuit against Guo, denouncing him as a "human rights villain".

"We ask prosecutors to immediately summon Guo who has been notorious for suppressing Falungong and Tibetans. He should be arrested on charges of genocide," said Teresa Chu, spokeswoman for the Taiwanese followers of the Falungong movement.

Guo, on a trip to push forward cultural and economic exchanges between Taiwan and Beijing, later visited former Taiwanese vice-president Lien Chan, who is honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang party.

Guo will reportedly stay until Tuesday.

China outlawed Falungong as an "evil cult" in 1999 and has since detained tens of thousands of members. The group says its members are tortured for refusing to give up their beliefs.

Beijing still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting to be reunified by force if necessary even though the island has ruled itself since 1949 at the end of a civil war.

But ties between Taiwan and China have improved markedly since 2008 after Ma of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing more Chinese tourists to visit.

Ma was reelected to a second and the last four years in office in last month's vote.

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Chinese envoy pays rare visit to southern Taiwan
Taipei (AFP) Feb 13, 2012
A Chinese envoy on Monday toured a southern Taiwan city, in a rare visit by a top mainland official to the area known for its vehement anti-China sentiment, officials said. Zheng Lizhong, China's second-ranking envoy to Taiwan, visited the city of Tainan at the invitation of the island's ruling Kuomintang party and did not face any protests despite concerns about his safety, they said. " ... read more

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