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Lien's golden wedding anniversary party disturbed by protesters

2015/09/05 22:22:30

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Two days after returning from a controversial trip to Beijing, former Kuomingtang (KMT) chairman and former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) was again confronted by protesters on Saturday as family and friends celebrated his 80th birthday and golden wedding anniversary.

Dozens of protesters, wearing vests indentifying them as supporters of a group that advocates Taiwan independence, gathered in front of the exclusive club where Lien Chan and Lien Fang Yu were holding a party to mark their 50th wedding anniversary.

The couple were in Beijing from Sept. 1-3 to attend China's celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of Resistance against Japan. Lien has been widely criticized for making the trip and especially his attendance at the military parade.

Although most politicians have avoided directly criticizing Lien, several have said it was not appropriate, even for a retired public servant, to visit Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war against Japan. Indeed, several prominent figures in the government and ruling KMT found themselves unable to attend the party on Saturday evening.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was not present, because he was not invited and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) declined to attend, saying he had other obligations.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) also told the press that they were unable to attend because of busy schedules.

The protesters were dispersed by the police before the party began.

Faced with mounting anger over the visit, Lien issued a statement on Saturday, saying that some people were spreading falsehoods to accuse him of betraying the people of Taiwan.

In the statement Lien stressed that he no long held any position in the government and attended the event in Beijing as a private citizen, observing that his visit was intended to promote cross-strait peace and stability.

Lien also said that when he met with Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平), he reiterated that: "reciprocal development on both sides of the strait would benefit the people."

Lien said in the statement that he mentioned to Xi: Republic of China is assets, not liabilities, in terms of cross-strait relations development.

(By L.J. Liu and Lillian Lin)
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