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A historic trip to China by the head of Taiwan's opposition party began Tuesday with a flurry of eggs and punches from angry supporters of the island's president at Taipei airport. Hours later, he was welcomed with flowers and speeches by Chinese communist officials who hailed his arrival as a sign of reconciliation.

The contrasting treatment underscores controversy surrounding the visit by Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan, the most prominent Taiwanese political figure to come to the mainland since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949. He says his journey aims to lower tensions between the sides. Detractors say he is selling out Taiwan's interests.

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