Sing China Music Festival halted following protest

2017/09/24 23:10:25 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Sing China Music Festival halted following protest

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Sing China Music Festival, a cultural activity supported by the cities of Taipei and Shanghai, was called off Sunday afternoon following a protest by students and others at National Taiwan University (NTU).

The protest was initiated by NTU student Tsai Hsuan-chi (蔡炫錡), who complained that the school's sports field was damaged and student rights' to use the athletic field were affected.

Protesters splashed banners, chanted slogans and stormed onto the stage while supporters of the festival shouted back, creating tension as both sides confronted each other.

Four people were injured during ensuing scuffle, and police arrested a man surnamed Hu on charges of injuring an NTU student. Hu was taken to Da'an Police Station for investigation.

Over two hours after the event started, the organizers announced a halt to the festival that was scheduled to end at 10:00 p.m.

Chung Yung-feng (鍾永豐), director of Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs and co-sponsor of the festival, regretted that the decision to suspend the activity came so late -- at 4:37 p.m..

He had started talking with NTU officials at 3:00 p.m. and agreed with their decision to call off the activity for the sake of safety.

His deputy, Lee Li-chu (李麗珠), said since 2015 Shanghai has held the festival in Taipei for two consecutive years as part of exchange programs between the two cities.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the top agency in charge of Taiwan's China policy, issued a statement in the evening urging the school to "talk with students" and handle the incident in a peaceful and rational manner.

The MAC noted that Sing China Music Festival was a legally permitted activity that was meant to showcase Taiwan's music talent and give young musicians in Taiwan and China a chance to learn from each other.

Li Wenhui (李文輝), Shanghai City's Taiwan affairs chief who was present at the time of protest, kept a low profile and declined to make any comment on the untoward commotion.

(By CNA reporters and S.C. Chang)
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