China / Politics

Ex-Kuomintang chief tours historic street

By XU WEI (China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-28 01:05

Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan visited Beijing's Nanluoguxiang hutong on Thursday, two days after Communist Party of China chief Xi Jinping made a surprise visit to the area amid heavy smog.

Lien, who met Xi in Beijing on Feb 18, arrived at the popular tourist spot in the capital's downtown Dongcheng district — famous for its boutiques, restaurants and bars — at around 10 am Thursday with his wife, Lien Fangyu, and toured the 800-meter-long alley for about an hour, store owners and others said.

Ex-Kuomintang chief tours historic street 

Honorary Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan (center) visits Beijing's Nanluoguxiang hutong on Thursday. Zhang Chuandong / for china daily 

Unlike Xi's visit two days ago, Lien's tour took place after a cold front and light overnight rain cleared the capital's skies. Smog had lingered in the country's central and north regions since Feb 20.

Lien's visit came as the mainland and Taiwan signed two agreements in Taipei on Thursday promising to enhance meteorological and earthquake-monitoring cooperation.

The agreements were signed by Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation.

Lien and his wife made at least two stops in Nanluoguxiang, including a hotel located in a courtyard.

A hotel employee, surnamed Zhao, confirmed that the couple toured the hotel at around 10 am, but didn't provide other details.

Another stop Lien made was at the Chuangyiwuxian store, which sells polymer clay handicrafts, including figures of rabbit gods.

Zhao Chunxiang, the store's manager, said she was made aware of the visit of "an important person" by an official in the district that morning, yet her business was not interrupted when Lien came.

"When he stepped in, I stepped up and said, 'I know you'. He was surprised and said 'really'?" Zhao said.

Zhao said Lien and his wife examined the handicrafts in the store with interest.

"They were wearing gloves when they stepped inside. But when they examined the products, they took their gloves off," she said.

Zhao said she even offered Lien a small gift — a small badge depicting the rabbit god.

"I realized it would be inappropriate to present our best products to an official. He even refused the rabbit god badge initially. But I said it only carried the meaning of good luck. Then he accepted it," she said.

Lien, who served as chairman of the Kuomintang from 2000 to 2005, was named honorary chairman upon his retirement.

Cross-Straits relations have improved significantly since Lien's ice-breaking visit to the mainland in 2005, ending a 56-year deadlock, along with Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou taking office in 2008.

In his recent meeting with Xi, Lien underscored the 1992 Consensus and the one-China framework documents, saying that cross-Straits relations do not constitute "international" or "state-to-state" relations.

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