NANTOU, Taiwan: Beijing's top envoy sought to promote "brotherly love" across the Straits, even as dozens staged protests when Chen Yunlin visited a typhoon-hit village in central Taiwan.
More than 20 buildings in this mountainous village of 100 were washed away in early August by landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot, although nobody was killed.
Prefabricated houses have been constructed for all these villagers.
Chen Yunlin (C), president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), visits a village hit by Typhoon Morakot in early August on Thursday in the central county of Nantou in Taiwan. [Xing Zhigang/chinadaily.com.cn]
Chen, the president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, commiserated with the typhoon victims, and conveyed sympathies on behalf of all mainlanders while he was being briefed about the reconstruction work.
He stressed that compatriots across the Taiwan Straits had time and again helped each other in times of disaster.
"It was a severe disaster; but our compatriots on both sides have affection towards each other," he said, referring to the mainland's contributions to Taiwan's relief efforts. "The kindred spirit between our people has proved that blood is thicker than water."
Morakot, the worst typhoon to hit the island in nearly five decades, killed more than 600 people and wreaked havoc across central and southern Taiwan.
Chen Yunlin (front, R), president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), visits a village hit by Typhoon Morakot in early August on Thursday in the central county of Nantou in Taiwan.[Xing Zhigang/chinadaily.com.cn]
The mainland donated over 780 million yuan ($115 million) and relief material including prefabricated houses to help the victims.
Chen also praised the island's "generous donations" to earthquake-hit Sichuan province in 2008, saying it was another example of "brotherly love" across the Straits.
The May 12 Sichuan earthquake claimed the lives of nearly 70,000 people.
Taiwan's donations to the victims of the quake totaled 1.4 billion yuan.
No victim of the typhoon showed up when Chen visited the village yesterday.
Wang Ling-yao, a highway maintenance worker who was working near the village, said he was impressed by Chen's caring remarks.
Before visiting the village, Chen toured the Chung Tai Shan Buddhist Monastery in Nantou to pray for peace.
The Chinese envoy, who arrived on Monday for a five-day visit, signed three agreements with Taiwan negotiators the following day, bringing to 12 the number of deals inked since June last year.
Although Chen said earlier he had dreamed of visiting Sun Moon Lake, one of the most scenic spots on the island, he was forced to drop a planned boat tour of the lake.
Demonstrators organized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which opposes the island's push for better cross-Straits ties, had threatened to shoot firecrackers at Chen if he went ahead with the boat tour.
Pro-independence protestors clashed with those who favored better ties with the mainland yesterday ahead of Chen's arrival at the lake.
The first serious incident during Chen's trip happened during protests on Wednesday night when a police officer was injured during a scuffle with demonstrators.
The policeman suffered a head injury after being pushed down from a truck while trying to stop a group of demonstrators who were throwing firecrackers at the hotel where Chen was staying, according to video footage provided by the police.
Six protestors were detained for endangering public security after the clash, the police said.