- 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China
The 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China, also known as the Third United Front of China (第三次國共合作), were a series of groundbreaking visits by delegations of the
Kuomintang(KMT) to mainland China. They were hailed as the highest level of exchange between the Communist Party of Chinaand the Kuomintangsince Chiang Kai-shekand Mao Zedongmet in Chongqing, Chinaon August 28, 1945.
March 28, 2005, the Kuomintang's vice chairman Chiang Pin-kungled a delegation in the first official visit to mainland China by a senior leader of the Kuomintang in 60 years. Later, on April 26, 2005, a 70-member delegation led by the Kuomintang's chairman Lien Chanleft Taipeifor Nanjingvia Hong Kong, launching Lien Chan's 8-day Taiwan Straitpeace tour, also the first such visit to mainland China in 60 years.
While on the mainland, Lien met with
President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintaoand expressed interest in improving cross-strait dialogues. Both also re-affirmed a belief in the "One China principle", which was not acknowledged by Taiwan's then-ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP).
Lien's itinerary also included visits to
Xi'an, where he had lived as a child during the Second Sino-Japanese Warand World War II; Nanjing, the former capitalof the Republic of Chinaand the site of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum; and Shanghai, China's largest city and site of extensive Taiwanese financial and economic investment in recent years.
2004, the KMT first proposed that the former president candidate Lien Chan would visit mainland China as the elected President of the Republic of China, but this was set aside as Lien failed to win the 2004 ROC Presidential Election. In 2005, the KMT suggested initially sending the vice chairman of the party to the mainland, with further visits to follow. This plan was followed through on March 28, when Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kung led his delegation to the mainland.
As part of the "Ice breaking tour", Chiang started his trip in
Guangzhou, Chinato visit the graves of dozens of KMT members who died during an uprising against the Qing Dynastyin 1911. On the morning of March 30, the delegation visited the Sun Yat-senMausoleum in Nanjing, then headed for Beijing to meet with CPPCCchairman Jia Qinglin. At the meeting, Jia conveyed Hu Jintao's invitation for Lien to Chiang. On April 1, Lien accepted the invitation at the Aichi Expo 2005.
Chiang Kai-shek International Airport
Lien Chan and his 70-member delegation departed
Taipeifor Hong Kongon April 26, starting the 8-day "journey of peace" which the mainland Chinese media referred to as a "visit." The Chinese media changed the airport name from CKS airport to "Taoyuan airport" to avoid mentioning the name of former leader of KMT and the late President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek.
On that morning, about a thousand people gathered at the
Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, and violent conflict broke out among the supporters and opponents of the tour, resulting in many injuries.
Pan-Greensupporters illegally brought " guan daos", beer bottles, stones, eggs, firecrackers, clubs, and sharpened sugarcanes into the terminals and started beating Pan-Bluesupporters and the police, throwing stones and setting off firecrackers in the meantime. Many members of the DPP, the TSU, and the Taiwan Independence Partywere arrested, along with the host of a political talk show. Pan-Bluesupporters fought back, swearing "an eye for an eye". There were suspected Triad members clad in black in the mob, picking on Pan-Green's elderly supporters, causing many to be hospitalized. The New Party chairman Yok Mu-mingwas arrested, along with other people in the Pan-Blue Coalition.
airport, Taiwan independence advocate Su Mingled many pan-Green supporters to use taxis to form a blockade on the highway, preventing Lien from reaching the airport, but they were repelled by the police. Su Ming and his followers then tried to light firecrackers in the terminal, and were later arrested.
Lien avoided the trouble entirely having been taken into the airport via a VIP entrance.
Aviation Police Officeof Taiwan proved inept in handling the riot, minister Chen Juit'ien was dismissed that evening. The Minister of the InteriorSu Chiach'uan offered to resign, and the deputy minister's plea to resign was granted.
Internet, teenagers parodied the event with a mock " Dynasty Warriors" battle. Nanjing
The delegation transferred onto
China Eastern Airlinesto Nanjingin Hong Kong, where they were greeted by the PRC Liaison Office of Hong Kong.
Lien and the delegation arrived at
Nanjing Lukou International Airporton April 26, at 16:40. Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Councilhead Chen Yunlinwas at the airport to welcome the delegation. Lien delivered a short speech upon arrival, saying "Taipei and Nanjing are not too distant, but it still took 60 years to come here. It certainly took too long to make the journey." That night he attended a banquet hosted by the leader of the Jiangsuprovincial government and lodged at the Jinling Hotel.
April 27, the delegation visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, where Lien burnt incense for the former President surrounded by the general public and press reporters. Lien quoted Sun Yat-Sen's last words "peace, struggle, save China" to promote a healthy relationship across the strait. Lien was the first KMT chairman to visit the mausoleum for 56 years.
On the same day, Lien visited the
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the former Republic of China Presidential Palace, Tianfei Gong, and the Fuzi Miao(Shrine of Confucius).
On the morning of
April 28, Lien left Nanjing for Beijing. Beijing
In the afternoon of
April 28, Lien and the delegation arrived in the Beijing Capital International Airport, where he delivered another speech. Then he attended a conference with the Taiwan Affairs Office in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Later, the delegation visited the Forbidden City. Lien met the CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin at the Great Hall of the People, and then watched a traditional Beijing operaperformance.
April 29, Lien gave a speech and answered questions from students and faculty in Peking University. He mentioned that both Hu Shihand former Taiwan Universitypresident Fu Sinianhad graduated from Peking University, then worked at Taiwan University and spread liberalismthere. "Therefore, in terms of liberalism, both Peking University and Taiwan University are born from the same root. Especially in the mainland, it can be said that it's a bastion of freedom." But Taiwanese students disagree, saying both Hu and Fu were fierce opponents of communismin favour of freedom of education, thus the two universities can't be compared, and protested outside the front gate.
Lien then toured the university, and visited the dormitory where his mother once lived. At 15:00, Lien met Hu Jintao in the Great Hall of the People, marking a historical meeting between the CPC and KMT, the first since 1945. After 17:30, Lien held a press conference, and listed the five points of compromise settled upon by the two parties following the conference:
#On the premise of acknowledging the
1992 Consensus, encourage the reopening of talks across the strait;
#Encourage an end to hostilities, and establish peace;
#Encourage cooperation in economic exchange and crime fighting, push for two-way direct flights across the strait,
Three Links, and agricultural exchange;
#Encourage talks regarding increasing Taiwan's international role; and
#Establish a platform of communication between the two parties.
That evening, Lien changed his plan for the night and met with Hu Jintao again. Reportedly, Hu Jintao invited Lien for a politics-free chat as it was Lien's last night in Beijing.
April 30at 11:25, the delegation arrived at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, starting Lien's tour of his birthplace. Welcoming Lien were officials of the Shaanxiprovincial government, Taiwanese businessmen in China, and children from Lien's elementary school.
At 3pm Lien returned to
Houzaimen Elementary School(then called Beixinjie Elementary), which he had attended 60 years ago. There he gave a speech, and watched several presentations by the schoolchildren, among them the soon-famous " Grandpa You're Back" skit reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution. Lien later donated to the school library, and the school gave him a 7 m long wall scroll in return.
After visiting the school, the delegation visited the
Terracotta Army. In the evening, Shaanxi provincial secretary Li Jianguohosted a Tang Dynasty-style banquet for the delegation in the Tang Paradisetheme park. Li presented the delegation with prints from the Stele Forestand ancient copperware, Lien in return gave famous Taiwanese glasswork. Later, the delegation watched the musical " Dream Back to the Tang" in the Fengming Jiutian Theatre.
Lien and his family members visited his grandmother's grave in Xi'an on
May 1, and burnt incense at the nearby Qingliang Temple. Shanghai
At 5pm on
May 1, Lien arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
The next day, Lien cancelled his trip atop the
Oriental Pearl Towerand held a press conference at the Shanghai Shangri-la Hotel. He later visited Wang Daohanat Jinjiang Hotel. At nine he toured Xintiandi, and took a harbour cruise to view The Bundat night.
May 3, 1pm, Lien and his delegation flew back to Taipei, via Hong Kong.
The state media in mainland China covered the visit in great detail and much of the general public welcomed this delegation with enthusiasm.
United Statesdeclared public support for Lien's visit, calling it a "step in the right direction for peace in the Taiwan Strait." However, the US has stressed that it would like to see the Communist Party of China(CPC) have talks with Taiwan's current ruling party, as well as the KMT. Western political analysts have compared the handshake of Lien and Hu Jintao to that of Yitzhak Rabinand Yasser Arafat.
In Taiwan, public opinion was split. While polls showed that more than half of the people didn't oppose this visit, the DPP argued that the
People's Republic of Chinawas attempting to play a divide-and-conquer game with Taiwan and causing a "widening schism" among the Taiwanese. TSU affiliate Lee Teng-huicondemned the visits of Lien and Soong (see below), calling them "mainland sympathizers" who want to undermine Taiwan's sovereignty. Republic of China(ROC) President Chen Shui-bianinitially condemned Lien and said that his visit might be in violation of ROC law. However, several days later Chen Shui-bian reversed his opinions and showed a cautious goodwill gesture to Lien's visit. Chen has also altered his stance on Taiwan independence. During the 2004 Taiwan election he stressed his support for Taiwan independence, he now says that "both independence and re-unification are options" for Taiwan's future. Political fallout from Lien's trip is believed to have contributed to this change in rhetoric.
After Lien's visit, the PRC offered three "goodwill gifts" to the ROC: the normalization of
tourism, which would allow direct flights across the Taiwan Strait; agricultural trade agreements that would increase sales of Taiwan produceto the mainland; and two pandas for the Taipei Zoo. After much deliberation, authorities in Taiwan declined the final gift, saying that Taipei Zoo was not suited to the task of nurturing pandas. This decision is expected to be overturned following the election of Ma Ying-jeouto the presidency in March 2008. James Soong, leader of the People First Party, followed Lien's visit on May 5with a 9-day visit of his own. Like Lien, Soong also met with President Hu Jintao and expressed an interest in increasing cross-strait dialogue.
After Soong's visit, President Chen extended an invitation to Hu Jintao to visit Taiwan so that he "can see with his own eyes that Taiwan is a sovereign nation." However, the CPC continues to show a lack of interest in dealing with Chen and the DPP.
Chinese Political Parties
Political status of Taiwan
History of the Republic of China
Politics of the Republic of China
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4482617.stm BBC Article]
* [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=61940 EU hopes China-Taiwan talks will widen in scope] News article on the European Union's support of Lien's visit
* [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=62031 Lien's triumphal PRC visit may have wide implications] Editorial concerning Lien's visit to China and its impact on Taiwan politics
* [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=62153 Gift or hot potato?] Taiwan news article on the pandas offered to the Taipei Zoo
* [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=62154 'Bridge over troubled water'] Taiwan news article on Soong's visit to the PRC
* [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=62354 Farmers interested in exports to China] Taiwan news article on the agricultural trade deal offered by mainland China
* [http://www.kmt.org.tw/ Kuomintang Official Website] 中國國民黨
* [http://miumu.com/chinesekmt Chinese Pan-blue Website] 中國泛藍聯盟
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