Chinese Man Paddles to Taiwan to See Presidential Election


by NTDTelevision

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A Chinese man has paddled his way across the strait from China to Taiwan to see Taiwan's presidential election firsthand. Coastguards say he made the seven hour trip to Taiwan on a boat made from styrofoam and bamboo sticks.

A Chinese man was arrested on Wednesday for illegally entering Taiwan. He paddled a makeshift boat from China to the island, claiming he wanted to see Taiwan's version of democracy.

Walking with police officers, 35-year-old Guo Zhiyong from China's Xinjiang Province expresses his disappointment at his arrest.

[Guo Zhiyong, Paddled to Taiwan]:
"I want to ask you a question -- are Taiwan and China both parts of the Republic of China? If they are one country then why am I illegal? Where are the human rights in Taiwan?"

He saw the coming election as a means to share his views.

The Kinmen County coast guard says the paddler was found at the shore with a boat and a backpack at approximately 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

[Pu Yulin, Deputy Captain, Kinmen Coast Guards]:
"He came from China by re-assembling a piece of discarded styrofoam with some bamboo sticks. He departed from Xiamen Guanyinshan beach in China, paddled for seven hours and landed in Kinmen."

Taiwan's presidential election is scheduled for January 14, 2012. It's sparked widespread interest in China, and a television debate last Saturday drew thousands of comments online. Many were praising Taiwan's democratic system.

President Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalist Party is vying for a second term, but faces a tough challenge from Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party.