Taiwan holds first Chinese music concert

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TAIPEI–Thousands of music fans packed a Taipei stadium to watch the island’s first concert staged by Chinese singers and rock bands, reports said China’s Sunday, in the latest sign of warming cross-strait relations.

The concert organized by the Chinese Music Chart, dubbed Grammy Awards, saw some 60 bands and singers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan perform before screaming fans Saturday, but also drew dozens of anti-China protesters.

They chanted pro-independence slogans and waved anti-Beijing banners outside the stadium, television reports showed, but were unable to interrupt the concert which included performances by Chinese singer Han Geng and actress Zhang Ziyi.

Without the prior approval of Taiwanese authorities, organisers of the Chinese Music Chart unilaterally announced in November that an award ceremony would be held in Taipei for the first time after it was set up in 1993.

The plan drew fire from the opposition, prompting the Chinese award organisers to change the award presentation ceremony to a concert at the demand of Taiwanese authorities.

The concert “is part of Chinese communist… tactics against Taiwan people and we’re here to voice our desire that we don’t want to be ruled by China,” said protester Tsai Ting-kui, according to the Liberty Times.

Beijing still insists Taiwan is part of China even though the island has ruled itself for more than 60 years after their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

But ties with China have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power in 2008 on a Beijing-friendly platform. He was re-elected in January for a second and final four-year term.

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