Mon, Mar 07, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Marchers send message to China

NO THANKS With China's parliament expected to pass an anti-secession bill this month, thousands of people took to the streets in Taipei and Kaohsiung to protest the legislation

By Jewel Huang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Demonstrators burn China's flag yesterday at a protest rally entitled ''opposing annexation, defending Taiwan'' near Kaohsiung's Cultural Center.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Tens of thousands of Taiwanese yesterday rallied in Taipei and Kaohsiung to voice opposition to China's proposed "anti-secession" law, which the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) is slated to unveil tomorrow in Beijing.

Determined to overshadow its erstwhile ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which organized a large rally in Kaohsiung, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday held a protest in Taipei.

Encouraged by the brisk and sunny weather, an estimated 2,000 people jammed the auditorium of Taipei Municipal Cheng Yuan High School where the gathering was held, while many more congregated outside the school complex and caused traffic congestion.

Doves and roses

The highlight of the event was when several guests of honor replaced images of missiles pointed at Taiwan on a large map of China with paper doves. Children then presented the guests with red roses, which they in turn gave to audience members.

In addition to DPP heavyweights, leaders of pro-independence social groups such as the Northern Taiwan Society, the Central Taiwan Society and the Taiwan Professors Association (台灣教授協會) also attended. The event was dubbed "safeguarding Taiwan, opposing annexation.

Saying that his party has not forsaken its pro-independence ideals, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) urged the 23 million people of Taiwan to stand up to China and safeguard the sovereignty of Taiwan.

"We are gathering here to tell China and the world that if China passes the `anti-secession' law, there will be more than 500,000 Taiwanese people taking to the streets to oppose the legislation," Su said. "I believe President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will lead the people of Taiwan to participate in such a protest."

Chen failed to attend yesterday's gathering, but instead sent Presidential Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun to act as his proxy.

Calling China a "trouble-maker," Su said that Beijing runs the risk of changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait if it enacts the "anti-secession law."

"Taiwan is an independent sovereign state and not part of China. China has never governed Taiwan for a single day nor have the Taiwanese people paid any tax to the Chinese government. It is a misfortune that we have such a malevolent neighbor who constantly intimidates us and now is trying to pass a law to seize control of our territory."

Responding to the "four never's" made by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on Saturday, Yu said that he has "three urges" for him.

Sovereignty

"If he genuinely meant to put his hopes in the Taiwanese people, he should respect the mainstream opinion of the public in Taiwan and immediately stop the passage of the anti-secession law," he said. "If he truly hoped to see peace across the Taiwan Strait, he would instantly dismantle the 700 missiles targeted at Taiwan. And if he was really sincere about negotiating with us on an equal footing, he should honestly recognize our sovereignty."

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said that as the Taiwan issue is internationalized, Taiwanese people should send out the message that they are a peace-loving people and a model of democratic development for the world.

"Before the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution is mended, we should respect it," he said. "While different political parties advocate different cross-strait policies, I think that the DPP's is the best and it is clearly stipulated in the DPP's `Resolution on Taiwan's Future' (台灣前途決議文) established in 1999," Hsieh said.

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