Shanghai Vice Mayor confronted by Taiwan independence protesters at airport

Activists managed to cut short the vice mayor's farewell speech before being escorted away by police

Protesters held signs and tore up copies of Ko Wen-je's books

Protesters held signs and tore up copies of Ko Wen-je's books (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Executive Vice Mayor of Shanghai Zhou Bo (周波) had his farewell speech cut short yesterday (Dec. 20) by a flurry of activists who turned up at the airport chanting pro-Taiwan independence slogans.

CNA reports that Lí Ka-ú (李嘉宇) of the Free Taiwan Party, along with a number of other young activists, took to Taipei Songshan Airport to make their stance on Taiwan independence clear as Zhou was heading back to China.

The protesters shouted slogans in both Chinese and Taiwanese declaring China and Taiwan as two separate countries, and lambasting Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) for his contribution to the recent Taipei-Shanghai exchange. They also tore up copies of Ko’s two books, “The White Force” and “White Force 2—Keep it Real: Ko Wen-je’s Theory on Urban Evolution.”

Police escorting an activist out of the airport (CNA image)

Zhou was visiting Taiwan for the Taipei-Shanghai Twin-City Forum, which opened Thursday (Dec. 20) at the Regent Hotel. The forum has taken place each year since 2010, and acts as a platform for the coordination of cultural and economic exchanges between the two cities.

According to CNA, Lí said that while the entire world is battling the spread of African swine flu which recently broke out from China, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), a self-proclaimed “white force” in Taiwanese politics, is exalting Taiwan and China as “one family.” “On what grounds can he claim to represent the people of Taiwan in discussing this idea?” Lí added.

Lí said that regardless of what platform he uses, Ke has no right to discuss the notion of Taiwan and China belonging to one family without the approval of the Taiwanese people. He stressed that the Taiwanese must be allowed their own subjective consciousness.

The world is waiting for Taiwan to resolutely declare independence, the activist said, and stand with it against China’s persecution of global democracy.

Lí mentioned that 20 years ago, Taiwan’s economy was hit hard after its livestock industry was subject to a foot and mouth epidemic thanks to Chinese pig smuggling. Now, he added, Taiwan must save itself from Chinese biochemical attacks via the spread of African swine flu.

As is custom in Taiwan, police at the airport raised signboards three times declaring that protesters were breaking public assembly laws, before escorting them off the premises.

Zhou was originally to make a speech prior to his departure, but this was canceled, and instead he gave a short farewell bid, thanking forum participants for their hard work.