A music festival in Taipei, co-sponsored by a Chinese talent show, has been cut short following protests by students and pro-Taiwan independence groups.
The Sing! China: Shanghai-Taipei Music Festival held at the National Taiwan University (NTU) on Sunday was interrupted by students and pro-independence groups who stormed the venue around 4pm, two hours after it kicked off.
Protesters held banners that said: “Refuse to be the Chinese Taiwan University,” “Give back our NTU field,” and “Free Lee Ming-cheh.” Some also waved independence flags and banners, as protesters threw eggs and other items onto the stage.
Students took issue with the school’s decision to rent the athletic field for the event. The student council said on its Facebook page last week that preparations for the concert had damaged the track and caused the field to be closed to students for a week.
The organisers announced around 4:40pm that the event had been cancelled for safety reasons upon the school’s request. The festival was originally scheduled to end at 10pm. Afterwards, students climbed into the stage, shouting “We are Taiwan National University, not China Taiwan University.”
As the crowd dispersed, altercations between protesters and pro-unification groups broke out, resulting in four injured people. Police arrested a 61-year-old man surnamed Hu on charges of injuring an NTU student, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
The event was co-sponsored by the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs and popular Chinese reality show Sing! China.
After the incident, Lin Ta-te, the school’s Secretary-General, said that the school’s decision to rent the venue was “ill-considered,” and that the school would seek repair costs from the organisers.
He added that the school would reconsider its procedures when renting out campus areas in the future.