The Chinese official who was accosted by pro-independence activists in Taiwan has cut short his trip to the island and headed back to the mainland.
Zhang Mingqing told reporters Wednesday at the Kaohsiung airport that he was returning to Beijing to seek medical treatment, complaining of soreness and dizziness.
Zhang was pushed to the ground by the activists Tuesday during a visit to a temple in the southern city of Tainan.
He was greeted by more pro-democracy demonstrators when he arrived at the airport today. But he says Tuesday's assault was carried out only by a few people, and not representative of the 23 million Taiwanese.
Zhang says he regrets putting local authorities through so much trouble.
Zhang is vice-chairman of China's semi-official body (Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits) charged with handling relations with the self-ruled island. The attack comes several weeks before a planned visit by Chen Yun-lin, Zhang's superior and the lead man in China's push for unity with Taiwan.
The office issued a statement condemning the attack on Zhang, urging Taiwanese officials to seriously punish those involved. Officials in Taiwan also condemned the attack and urged the public to treat the island's guests with more respect.
Ties between China and the island have warmed since Taiwan's new President Ma Ying-jeou was elected into office earlier this year. Mr. Ma has promised expanded trade and political relations with Beijing.
Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing claims the self-ruled island as part of its own territory.