Sing China scuttled by student protesters

Sing China canceled due to protests by NTU students, pro-unification group member beats students with stick

Banner reads "Reject becoming China National Taiwan University."

Banner reads "Reject becoming China National Taiwan University." (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The "Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival" was canceled yesterday at National Taiwan University (NTU) due to protests and conflict between Taiwan independence activists and pro-unification supporters.

A group of NTU students held a protest to complain that the concert's stage had damaged the field and infringed on their right to access the athletic facilities. Protesters first staged demonstrations outside the venue before purchasing tickets.

Once inside, some protesters stormed the stage, unfurled banners, and shouted slogans, while some who supported the festival shouted back.

Protesters storm the stage. (CNA image)

Pro-unification groups soon joined the fray. Video of a man wearing a black vest attacking student protesters with a stick was posted on the Facebook page of a pro-unification group, which was then posted on the Facebook event page (中國新聲音 學生權被陰) created by the pro-independence organizers. According to the event page, 1,000 students were listed as having participated in the anti-concert protest.

The man was later identified Hu Ta-kang (胡大剛), 61, and is suspected of being a member of the pro-unification Patriot Association (愛國同心會). After the scuffle, police took Hu into the Da-an Police station for questioning, according to CNA.

After running for three hours, the event, which was organized by Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs and the Chinese reality TV show "Sing! China," was cancelled at 4:37 p.m., well ahead of its originally scheduled end time of 10 p.m. The emcee announced that they were ending the concert early as NTU was concerned for safety at the venue as the scene continued to deteriorate.

Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs and co-sponsor of the festival, Chung Yung-feng (鍾永豐), said that he had contacted NTU officials at 3 p.m. to cancel the event out of safety concerns and regretted that it was not until more than an hour and a half later that the concert was finally shut down, reported CNA.

Shanghai has held the event for the past two years in Taipei as part of an exchange program between the two cities.

Video of Hu beating students with a stick: