Groups to protest Taiwan president's isle visit


POSTED: Sunday, July 05, 2009

Taiwanese-American groups opposed to Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou's policies to bring the island nation closer to China have planned three protest rallies for today at locations where Ma is scheduled to appear.

The groups say they also want more human and freedom of the press in Taiwan and are also calling for the release of former President Chen Shui-bian, being held on charges of embezzlement, bribery and money laundering.

Ma was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu last night and protesters planned to be outside the Waialae Country Club as Ma's motorcade passed by. He is staying at the Kahala Hotel on an overnight stopover on his way back to Taiwan from a trip to Nicaragua and Panama.

Protest rallies are scheduled today at 8:30 a.m. on the sidewalk at the Cultural Plaza downtown, at noon at the East-West Center on Dole Street and 5:30 p.m. at the entrance to the Waianae Country Club.

Ma is placing a lei on the statue of Sun Yat Sen, the father of modern China, in Chinatown in the morning, and will be the guest of honor at a lunch at the East West Center and at a reception at the Kahala Hotel before departing tonight for Taipei.

Ma has been working on improving economic and political ties between China and Taiwan. The protest groups say his policies are undermining Taiwanese sovereignty.

They are calling on the Obama administration to speak out against Ma's policies and call for greater freedoms in Taiwan.

Gov. Linda Lingle planned to have breakfast with Ma this morning. It's the fourth time the governor has met with the Taiwanese leader. She last met with him in Taipei in November during a state trade mission. They also met in January 2003 in Hawaii when Ma was mayor of Taipei. He was the first foreign dignitary Lingle met with after her election as governor, according to the Taiwan Foreign Affairs Ministry.