Tue, Mar 01, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lee slams China law at 228 event

SYMBOLIC BEACON After criticizing China's planned law as `barbaric,' former president Lee Teng-hui illuminated a beacon off Cape Fukui

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hand-in-Hand Taiwan Alliance, together with representatives of 19 cities and counties, holds a memorial activity called ``228 Light of Taiwan, Shine the World,'' yesterday. In Taipei, people created the shape of the number ``228'' with candles, representing prayers for Taiwan's welfare.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Pressing a button that lit up a beacon built on Cape Fukui (富貴角) near Tamsui Harbor, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) launched the 228 memorial activities held at Taipei's 228 Memorial Peace Park yesterday evening. During the event he reiterated his strong opposition to China's planned anti-secession law, criticizing it as "barbarian and invasive" behavior.

"[The anti-secession law] is barbarian and invasive behavior," Lee said. "We have to denounce China's ambition and declare to the whole world that we firmly oppose China's making of the anti-secession law ... We will never launch a war to invade China; likewise, we will not allow China to invade Taiwan either."

Lee made a speech before igniting the beacon of Cape Fukui by pressing a button on a beacon model, joined by other pro-independence leaders. Lee stressed in his speech that pro-independence groups will never tire in their resolve to resist China's annexation of Taiwan, correct the nation's official name and make a new constitution for the nation.

Entitled "228 Light of Taiwan, Shine the World" and organized by the Hand-in-Hand Taiwan Alliance that engineered the successful 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally last year in Taipei's 228 Memorial Peace Park, the memorial activities were simultaneously launched in 19 cities and counties in Taiwan and 10 cities in the US, Canada, Japan and England. These cities also lit beacons at 8pm for 30 minutes to symbolize their blessing of Taiwan and calls for freedom.

In the memorial ceremony, Lee pointed out that China is attempting to swallow up Taiwan by making the anti-secession law. Because the law will have a serious impact on the Asia Pacific region, the US and Japan have already expressed their disapproval of the law, he said.

"In fact, the current situation of the Taiwan Strait is `one country on either side' and there is simply no issue of `secession' as China has claimed," Lee said. "People of Taiwan have to voice their opposition to China's anti-secession law soon, otherwise Taiwan would be misunderstood as having acquiesced to China's annexation."

Lee said he would not criticize Chen during a solemn occasion, the purpose of which was to commemorate victims killed 58 years ago.

"It was the milestone for Taiwanese people fighting for democracy and freedom," Lee said of the massacre.

Lee did not stay for the 8pm ceremony, saying he was unwell and needed rest.

After changing his mind early in the day on whether to attend the event, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) decided to participate, joining Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Chen did not make a speech in the activity as expected. After waving fluorescent lights in his hand and standing in the rain for about 10 minutes, Chen left the occasion without saying a word. When Hsieh later made a speech on the stage and talked about the importance of "political reconciliation," some in the audience yelled "quit!" and "go away!" at Hsieh.

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