Richard of the Peking Duck had a surreal Friday morn in downtown Taipei as he bumped into a protest against the US weapons purchase.

So the cameras are going out of their way to keep taping me as I take my pictures. And suddenly, a geezer in a straw hat wielding a large sign starts screaming at me in Taiwanese. I thought he was asking me to take a picture of him and his sign, so I raised my camera to do so. To my shock, he lunged toward me, still screaming, as if he was going to hit me with the sign. He then shouted, in broken English, “We hate you! Get out of here! Get out of Taiwan, American!” The TV cameras were taping the whole thing (all 5 seconds of it). With that, a group of police officers walked up, got between the angry demonstrator and me and led me away, insisting that I leave “for my own protection.” I was the only Westerner there, and apparently this wasn’t a good place for Westerners to be. For the record, the police were exceptionally courteous and I don’t blame them for asking me to leave.

The protesters were repeating Blue camp agitprop that the special budget weapons are archaic weapons the US dumps on Taiwan at inflated prices. I’ve heard it from my own students many times. The PFP and KMT, the major Blue camp parties, once more prevented the arms package from reaching the floor of the legislature — the KMT reversed its position. I sure hope that the US government has noted how well the KMT keeps its promises to America and serves US and regional security interests.