Protester throws bottle of white paint at president

Monday, 19 October 2009 09:07 Taipei Times

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was touring a night market in Kaohsiung late on Saturday night when he was confronted by about a dozen angry protesters. A man was whisked away by Ma’s security detail after he tossed a bottle of white paint that barely missed the president.

Ma spent the night in the city after he was reinstated to the post of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman earlier in the day.

While touring the night market, he was heckled by protesters who called him a “liar” and an “economy killer.” The protesters accused him of being too soft on Beijing and said that he was there merely to “put on a show.”

He then came under attack when the protester tossed the bottle of white paint.

Unfazed by the protests, Ma enjoyed some papaya milk and waved to the crowds at the night market.

Chinese tourists began cutting Kaohsiung from their travel itineraries after the Dalai Lama visited southern Taiwan early last month in the wake of Typhoon Morakot and the Kaohsiung Film Festival decided to screen a documentary about Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing (范麗青) said on Wednesday that it was “natural” for Chinese tourists to express their displeasure, because there were “forces in Kaohsiung who align themselves with the separatist forces supporting Tibetan and Uighur independence, which creates trouble and runs counter to the core interests of China.”

“It hurts the feelings of their mainland compatriots,” she said, marking the first time Beijing confirmed its tourists were boycotting Kaohsiung.

Ma spent Saturday evening shopping at the night market, touring a commercial district and visiting a department store in an apparent bid to help promote tourism in Kaohsiung.

Ma, however, did not make any comment about Fan’s remarks.

Source: Taipei Times 2009/10/19

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