Sat, Sep 06, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Thousands expected to take part in rally

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Accompanied by TSU legislators and supporters, TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen, second right, shouts slogans in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday while holding a banner calling for people to participate in the ``Call Taiwan, Taiwan'' demonstration today.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

More than 100,000 people are expected to take to streets in downtown Taipei today to campaign for the change of nation's name from "Republic of China" (ROC) to "Taiwan" as well as the usage of Taiwan as the official title for the country's bid to enter the UN.

The Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan, the organizer of the march, yesterday released the latest tally of the number of people signing up for the campaign drive, which might draw as many as 120,000 people from all over the country to the rally.

Supporters of 113 domestic and overseas groups will join the rally in front of the Presidential Office. The DPP and TSU, which have long been promoting Taiwan's sovereign status independent from China, have also mobilized more than 40,000 and 30,000 rank-and-file supporters respectively, party officials said.

Overseas participants from the US, Japan, Argentina, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa would also attend the rally.

Using the slogan that "our mother's name is Taiwan," the campaign advocates the abolishment of the use of "ROC" or "China" as a nomenclature representing Taiwan, and demands that the title of the country, company's names and the names of social groups using the word "China" should be replaced with "Taiwan" to reflect the reality that China, officially known as the People's Republic of China, does not govern Taiwan.

The alliance listed a total of 245 private groups, companies and institutions whose names need to be corrected including China National Petroleum Corp, China Steel, China Shipbuilding, China Airlines, the Chinese-language newspaper China Times, China Television, China Television Company, Farmers Bank of China and the KMT, whose full name actually translates as the "Chinese Nationalist Party" (中國國民黨).

The campaign also appeals to the government to use Taiwan as the official title for its overseas organizations, to apply for membership of the UN under the name of Taiwan.

It also asks the government to write a constitution for Taiwan rather than the outdated and much amended Constitution of 1947 currently in use, and change the nation's official name to the "Republic of Taiwan" or simply "Taiwan."

Marchers will gather in six locations -- Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Taiwan University, the 228 Memorial Park, Chungshan Football Stadium, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall -- at 11am and start the march at noon before reaching to the Presidential Office at 3pm.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), the national leader of the campaign, will join the march and is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech around 3:30 pm.

The DPP yesterday released a poll of public opinion on the nation's sovereignty according to which 63.2 percent of the public support the idea that Taiwan and China are "one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait," and 70.3 percent agreed that a national plebiscite to be held to decide whether Taiwan should change its status quo or the nation's name.

The KMT criticized the campaign drive as advocating Taiwan independence and accused the DPP and TSU of being "historical criminals" and being "unethical" by trying to annihilate the existence of the ROC, which, it said, has existed since 1911.

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