Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen: `one China' referendum possible

LIMITED TOLERANCE Chen reminded Lien that an independence referendum is not allowed, but said he would not rule out a referendum on `one country, two systems'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER IN KAOHSIUNG

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that he will not rule out of the possibility of holding a referendum on an issue such as "one country, two systems" if China keeps bullying Taiwan beyond the limit of Taiwan's tolerance.

In response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) suggestion of holding a referendum on unification or independence, Chen reminded Lien that it was the pan-blue camp who passed the so-called "bird-cage Referendum Law" (鳥籠公投法) last November, which restricted the issues that the public could vote on in a referendum.

"We couldn't find any article in the Referendum Law that would allow us to hold the referendum suggested by Lien," Chen said, adding that if the pan-green camp wins a legislative majority they will have a chance to revise the Referendum Law.

Also yesterday, at a campaign rally held in Taitung County, Chen urged local government chiefs to maintain good relations with the central government for the sake of the citizenry, and not to intentionally hold views opposing those of the central government to curry favor with the opposition party.

Chen yesterday went to Taitung County to campaign for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Hsu Jui-kuei (許瑞貴) and Aboriginal candidate Chen Ying (陳瑩).

The most eye-catching scene at the rally was when Chen and Taitung County Commissioner Hsu Ching-yuan (徐慶元), appeared onstage together to endorse the DPP candidate.

On Friday, Hsu Ching-yuan announced his withdrawal from the People First Party (PFP) and turned to the DPP when the central government promised to fully support the construction projects in Taitung County.

During his speech, Chen spent much time voicing his appreciation for Hsu Ching-yuan.

Chen also criticized Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) recent political gestures, saying that Ma used the campaign tactic of highlighting himself by challenging the central government.

Taking himself as an example, Chen said that he had good communication and cooperated well with the Presidential Office when he was mayor of Taipei, pointing out that he tried his best to cooperate with the central government and took the responsibility of protecting the head of state.

Chen said that he would report to then president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and consulted Lee whenever he visited other countries, which was a sign of respect for the head of state.

"I urged local government chiefs to maintain good relations with the central government and not to intentionally hold opposite views to those of the central government on every issue," Chen said.

"Local governments must support the central government. People who have magnanimity are those who are blessed," Chen said.

Recently, Ma has targeted the Presidential Office and caused controversy by accusing Chen of exploiting his status as president by violating traffic regulations without being ticketed.

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