Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen urges the nation to stand up against China

MASS MEETING President Chen Shiu-bian last night addressed a crowd of 30,000 supporters at a massive campaign rally to boost support for his referendum

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last night held the first large-scale campaign rally in an envisaged series of national referendum promotion campaigns in Taoyuan County to boost the momentum and public support for an election-day referendum proposed by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Speaking at the rally, Chen urged the people of Taiwan to jointly defend the nation's democracy, peace, status quo and the wish not to be belittled as a Chinese local government.

Chen said that as the national leader, he can't ignore the threat of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan and he must raise public awareness of the underlying danger of missiles against Taiwan's security.

Chen said the facts are that the Chinese missiles are aimed at Taiwan, China wants to make Taiwan a second Hong Kong and China would use force against Taiwan to coerce Taiwan into accepting this situation.

"These are things that are happening every day, but some people [in Taiwan] are rather uninformed about these dangers and treat them as natural matters. However, as a national leader, I can't pretend not to see these dangers and we have to voice our discontent towards these unreasonable military threats," Chen said.

Chen said Taiwan is not a normal and complete country because the people of Taiwan have long refrained to acknowledge that Taiwan is a country, even though they can choose their own lawmakers and national leader and even though Taiwan and China have different areas of jurisdiction.

"It is a known fact that Taiwan and China are separate countries on each side of the Taiwan Strait, but some people dare not acknowledge it and think it might bring disaster to Taiwan. That's the reason the international community won't recognize us," Chen said.

Chen said Taiwan has come a long way in the process of democratization through the abolishment of the ban on political parties, the press and the accomplishment of the legislative elections and direct presidential election in the past.

"At this juncture, to further Taiwan's democracy, the holding of such a historic referendum will be necessary to advance democracy and ensure Taiwan's security," Chen said.

Meanwhile, Chen said his administration has braved many difficulties, including the economic recession, black-gold politics rampant in the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime and many financial irregularities to enforce many reforms since he took office in 2000.

He urged the people not to allow a corrupt political system led by the pan-blue alliance to stage a comeback.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), a native of Taoyuan and a former Taoyuan County Commissioner, yesterday said the 2004 presidential election differs from all the previous elections in that it determines whether the people of Taiwan could prove to the world their determination to have peace and stand up to China's military threats.

She urged the people to safeguard the security and prosperity of Taiwan through an election-day referendum to defy China's missiles.

Lu said Taiwan does not have a problem of "exercising splittism" as alleged by China, since Taiwan is already an independent and sovereign country and has been exercising separate jurisdiction from China for more than five decades.

She said the Taiwanese people should waste no time debating on the independence or unification issues; they should rather work together to boost Taiwan's international standing.

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