Cablegate: Kaohsiung Protests Secretary Powell's Remarks
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS TAIPEI 003347
DEPT FOR DS/IP/ITA AND DS/IP/EAP
DEPT ALSO FOR EAP/TC
FROM AIT KAOHSIUNG BRANCH OFFICE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL TW CH
SUBJECT: KAOHSIUNG PROTESTS SECRETARY POWELL'S REMARKS
Sensitive But Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) A candidate in Taiwan's upcoming Legislative Yuan
(LY) elections led a group of around 20 supporters to
protest in front of AIT Kaohsiung the morning of October 27.
The protest was noisy, but peaceful, and dispersed within
half an hour, after a letter of protest was read out for
television and print reporters present and then delivered to
AIT Kaohsiung. The LY candidate, Huang Wan-chuan, is a
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) candidate from Kaohsiung
County. In his speech and letter of protest, Huang
expressed "anger and regret for the Secretary's comments in
Beijing that Taiwan is not a sovereign state." Noting that
the U.S. "recognized Taiwan's democracy", Huang stated that
Taiwan had its people, government and controlled its own
territory, all of which "indisputably comprised the
components of a sovereign county."
2. (SBU) Separately, the afternoon of October 27, Yan Wen-
li, the chairman/owner of a popular local radio station,
"Boss (chu-ren) Radio" notified AIT Kaohsiung that he would
lead a group of employees to AIT Kaohsiung offices to
deliver a protest of Secretary Powell's remarks. The radio
station also issued a press release on their plans to
protest at AIT. Yan arrived with about a dozen members of
his reporting/editorial staff and presented AIT Kaohsiung
with a framed letter, "thanking Secretary Powell for
reminding the people of Taiwan that they have not yet
achieved their independence." Yan asserted that Secretary
Powell's remarks would help invigorate the Taiwan
independence movement and ensure the founding of the new
nation named "Taiwan."
3. (SBU) In both instances, Kaohsiung City police were
aware of the planned protests at least an hour or so before
they occurred and provided more than sufficient extra police
to ensure the small protests were well-controlled and
prevented from blocking the entrance to the commercial
building in which AIT Kaohsiung is located and/or the floor
on which AIT Kaohsiung's office suite is located. Both
protests were orderly and dissipated rapidly after the
written protests were delivered to AIT Kaohsiung.
4. (SBU) Comment: The protests, while small and brief, are
representative of the reaction among many here in the
heartland of Taiwan's minority "pro-independence movement"
to media reports of the Secretary's interviews. Popular
political talk shows on local television and radio stations
have also been full of similar sentiments from those
sympathetic to Taiwan independence. As Taiwan is also in
the midst of an LY election season, the debate around these
issues undoubtedly will be seized upon by candidates to gain
attention. For that reason, we would not be surprised to
see further such protests in the coming days.