A Taiwan city councillor has been jailed for four months for pushing a visiting Chinese official to the ground last year ahead of a higher-profile visit from political rival Beijing.
Tainan District Court on Monday sentenced Tainan city Councilman Wang Ting-yu for decking Zhang Mingqing, vice chairman for China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, during a visit on Oct. 21 last year.
China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and has vowed to bring the island under its rule, by force if necessary.
Ties have improved as Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, elected last year, has sought to ease tensions through trade talks, but the relationship remains sensitive. Zhang's trip came in the run-up to the maiden visit to the island by Beijing's top negotiator on Taiwan affairs.
"The defendant pushed and shoved Zhang Mingqing, who fell on the ground and was injured," court spokesman Wu Yung-hui said. "The court found that he was intentionally knocked over."
Wang was part of a group of anti-China demonstrators who jostled with Zhang at a temple in the southern city of Tainan, television images showed. Beijing condemned the incident.
Wang also led about 200 demonstrators who used expletives, yelling for Zhang to return to China, when he showed up for an academic forum at a southern Taiwan university.
Wang has pleaded innocent and said the charge against him was brought to appease China. He has 10 days to appeal.