Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong arrives in Taiwan amid protests Falun Gong and Tibetans

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Falun Gong announced on Thursday it was suing Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong over human rights abuses on the day he arrived for his first-ever visit to Taiwan.
Religious activists and opposition Democratic Progressive Party politicians said that during a career taking him to Tibet, Anhui and Beijing, Guo, 64, had earned a reputation for repressing opposition and infringing human rights.
The mayor of China’s capital arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Thursday evening at the head of a delegation numbering 500 members. As soon as he arrived, clashes broke out between Falun Gong and Tibetan protesters on the one hand and police on the other hand. More than 80 Falun Gong members held up protest banners and shouted slogans against Guo, reports said.
The mayor was expected to meet Kuomintang honorary chairmen Lien Chan and Wu Po-hsiung and to attend the opening of a Beijing Culture Week.
“Inviting a person known for repressing human rights and sitting down with him as if nothing happened, is unsuitable,” said DPP lawmaker Pan Men-an.
Taiwanese followers of the Chinese religious group the Falun Gong took their case against Guo to a local court, expressing the hope that the hearings could begin while the mayor was still in the country.
DPP members of the Taipei City Council said Mayor Hau Lung-bin should refuse to see Guo to protect the capital’s international image. A total of 16 cities and counties had already signed a petition opposing a welcome for visitors known for human rights abuses, the DPP said.
“The Taipei City Government should not allow a human rights thug to smuggle himself in under the banner of culture,” said DPP City Councilor Wu Szu-yao.
City officials said Taipei, Beijing and Shanghai had already organized cultural weeks together. This time, the Chinese capital had actively applied for the event, so the Taiwanese capital would fulfill its role as host, officials said.
Guo will reportedly visit the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, the World Trade Center, the former Sungshan Tobacco Factory and a major bookstore during his stay in Taipei this week. Next week, he will also travel to Taichung, Changhua and Nantou in Central Taiwan before heading back to New Taipei City, reports said. During his trip, he will also hold talks with prominent KMT politicians such as Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman P.K. Chiang, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu.