A crowd of protesters on Thursday gathered in front of a hotel in Manhattan where Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen was scheduled to appear, holding signs saying, "Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," and "There is only one China in the world." (MINLU ZHANG/CHINA DAILY)
Protests opposed to the U.S. visit of Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen continued on Thursday in New York City, with many people calling for a focus on economic issues instead of helping to arm Taiwan and agitate for its independence.
"Tsai Ing-wen here is to sell a war, and we Americans don't want that war. We love our country, we want jobs and schools for Americans, not more weapons to Taiwan, not a new war against China," Caleb Maupin told China Daily.
A crowd of 100 people in Midtown Manhattan on Thursday waved Chinese and American national flags and held signs saying, "There is only one China in the world", "Support China's reunification and resolutely oppose Taiwan independence" and "Taiwan independence has no way out; Taiwan independence is a dead end".
Many of them are from Fujian province, a province on the southeast coast of China. The island of Taiwan lies to its east, across the Taiwan Straits.
"Fujian and Taiwan are very close. We had a very good friendship, and we are connected by blood. Many people in Taiwan were originally from Fujian. Tsai's 'transit' hurts our feelings," Chen Heng, the chairman of the Fukien American Association, told China Daily.
Also gathered nearby, other protesters held signs saying, "Money for jobs and infrastructure in America! No more weapons to Taiwan", "Tsai Ing-wen is selling war. No more tax money for weapons to Taiwan".
"We should build high-speed railway in this country; we should have better schools in this country; we should have better healthcare; we don't need wars," Maupin said.
"We should do business with China, and get a booming economy, lifting people out of poverty. Imagine if American companies and Chinese companies can team up, we can get richer as a country," he continued.
Thursday's protest was the third of its kind. When Tsai arrived in New York City on Wednesday, a large crowd of protesters also gathered near the Manhattan hotel where she was staying. Those protests, organized by about 105 local Chinese communities, were attended by more than 700 people.
On Thursday, a senior Taiwan official alleged Chinese authorities were paying people to attend the protests.
Deputy Chinese Consul General in New York Qian Jin later refuted the claim and said the protests were spontaneous.
It's not organized by the consulate, Qian said at a media breakfast on Thursday. "There's no need of involvement of the Chinese consulate" in the demonstrations, said Qian. "It's a reflection and demonstration of the real needs and heart of the Chinese communities here.
"I have the feeling that the majority of the Chinese community living here want peace in the Taiwan Straits," he said. "They don't want it to become a war zone. That's why they are against Tsai's so-called 'transit' to the U.S.."
A healthy relationship between China and the U.S. and a stable situation in the Taiwan Straits is in the best interests of Chinese communities here, said Qian.
"That's why I feel no surprise to see the news that there are demonstrations, especially from the Chinses communities here."
Tsai is reportedly scheduled to travel through New York and Los Angeles on a 10-day trip to and from some Central American countries, during which she plans to meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.
"It doesn't look like a private visit; it is not so much a transit," said Qian. He said it would be the first time the Biden administration allowed the "transit" of Tsai Ing-wen; it would be the first time for the U.S. House speaker to meet Tsai on U.S. soil if it happens; and it would be the first time for Tsai to give public speeches in the U.S..
"If all these are the case, how can you call it a transit? I think it's just using the name of transit to seek official interactions with the U.S. to make a breakthrough and seek to propagate Taiwan independence," said Qian.
Chi Tai, president of Chinese for Peaceful Unification-Northern California, said Tsai has never considered the consequences of her visit.
"What Tsai is doing will not bring safety to Taiwan. It will only provoke more tensions. It will not do any good to the Taiwan people," Tai told China Daily.