China tourism operators nix trip on Tainan incident


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Seven members of a Chinese delegation that was slated to attend the 2008 Taipei International Travel Fair have canceled their plans to attend the Oct. 31-Nov.3 event, citing safety concerns after an assault by anti-China protesters against a visiting Chinese official, the organizer said yesterday.

Chang Shuo-lao, chairman of the Taiwan Visitors Association which organizes the annual fair, said he had received dozens of telephone calls from Chinese nationals over the last two days asking “whether Taiwan is safe and if they can come.”

Zhang Mingqing, vice president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, was besieged by a group of emotional pro-independence activists during a visit to the Confucius Temple in Tainan City in southern Taiwan Tuesday.

The incident caused Zhang to cut short his Taiwan visit.

Chang said the incident has impacted to a certain degree on the travel plans by Chinese tourists to Taiwan. However, he added, he believes China’s National Tourism Administration Deputy Director Zhang Xiqin will attend the Taipei fair as scheduled.

The Zhang incident resulted in a drop in the number of the Chinese delegates to the travel fair to 290, with those who canceled including provincial officials in charge of tourism affairs, Chang said.