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Organizer protests government interference in cross-strait conference

2012/06/27 23:41:31

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) In a move of protest, an organizer of a Taipei conference on the peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait said Wednesday it has canceled the conference altogether due the Taiwan government's interference on the conference theme.

The Taipei Conference, on the theme of "strengthening identity and mutual trust, and entrenching peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait," was asked by the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top China policy planning body, to discard the words "identity" and "mutual trust" from the theme, said Chang Ya-chung, organizer of the conference and a professor at National Taiwan University.

The council's interference on the theme has "reached our bottom line," Chang said.

Chang said the conference was due to be held in late June. But after negotiations, it was put off until July 13.

The MAC said the original conference date was too close to the eighth meeting between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and so it asked the conference to be postponed.

But the council said a day earlier that it will only allow Chinese scholars who have no connections to Chinese government to attend the conference, he said.

"We have met all prior requests made by the council and will not accept the renaming of theme," he said.

However, the council said in a late night statement Wednesday that it has never asked the organizer to discard "identity" and "mutual trust" from the conference theme, and that the conference was initially put off due to incomplete application procedures by Chinese applicants for participating in the conference.

The conference was organized by the Chinese Integration Association, with expected attendance of 150 scholars and experts on cross-strait relations from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong.

(By Chen Hung-chin and Ann Chen)