TAIPEI (AFP) — Taiwan pro-independence activists early Thursday scuffled with police outside a hotel in Taipei where visiting Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin was enjoying a banquet in his honour, trapping him inside.
Chen, the most senior Chinese official to visit the self-ruled island in 60 years, finally left the Regent Hotel in the early hours after police struggled to keep back more than 2,000 protesters venting their anger at his visit.
A staff member at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, where Chen is staying, confirmed the envoy returned at about 2:30am (1830 GMT Wednesday).
Earlier, at least one policeman was injured in scuffles with the protesters, said the TVBS news channel.
Television footage also showed angry demonstrators surrounding a Chinese television reporter late Wednesday in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the hotel before the police intervened.
Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT), which hosted the banquet for Chen, blamed the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
"We condemn the DPP for mobilising the protesters... who were engaged in violent acts that have seriously damaged Taiwan's international image," the party said in a statement.
DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen appeared at the scene late Wednesday and chanted anti-China slogans with the protesters.
Officials say more than 7,000 police have been deployed to ensure Chen's safety, after his deputy Zhang Mingqing was jostled and knocked to the ground by anti-China protesters during a visit to Taiwan last month.
Chen, head of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, on Tuesday signed historic economic deals with Chiang Pin-kung, his local counterpart.
Their meeting, the second between the two envoys and the first in Taiwan, has sparked widespread and vocal protests that Taipei is making too many concessions to its once sworn enemy.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war but Beijing still regards the island as part of its territory, to be retaken by force if necessary.
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