A senior Chinese envoy's visit to Taiwan for trade talks has sparked a backlash among critics who fear the Taiwanese government's China-friendly policies are opening the door to eventual unification with the mainland.
Chen Yun-lin flew Monday from Beijing to the central Taiwanese city of Taichung a day after tens of thousands of pro-independence demonstrators marched through its streets to protest President Ma Ying-jeou's push to link the island's economy ever closer to China's. On Monday, police stopped several hundred protesters from besieging Chen's hotel.
Many of the protesters view Chen as the spearhead for communist Beijing's proclaimed policy of uniting Taiwan with the mainland - the core of its Taiwan approach since the sides split amid civil war in 1949. They see Ma's policies as endangering Taiwan's sovereignty and its hard-won democracy.
Despite the protests, Ma's push for a partial free trade agreement with Beijing is still on track. His Nationalist Party enjoys a substantial majority in the legislature, allowing him to implement virtually any deal he wants.