Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 1 News List

KMT backs second 319 committee

HERE WE GO AGAIN Party chairman Lien Chan and would-be successors Wang Jin-pyng and Ma Ying-jeou vowed to form a new committee during yesterday's rally

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-blue camp supporters impersonate President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu in a mock portrayal of the assassination attempt on them on March 19 last year as the anti-government rally leaves the Sungshan Tobacco Factory in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Declaring that it would continue the pursuit of the "truth" behind last year's assassination attempt on the president and vice president, the pan-blue camp yesterday rallied supporters in a return to Ketagalan Boulevard yesterday on the anniversary of the incident it claims decided the presidential election.

Speaking at the "319 Democracy, Peace and Truth" rally yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweights called for the establishment of a new committee in the legislature to investigate the matter.

Speaking on China's "Anti-Secession" Law, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) blamed the Taiwanese government's "independence activities" for the tensions across the Taiwan Strait, saying that peace was the common wish of the Taiwanese people.

"It has already been a year. We are here today, not for any one person or party, but to take responsibility for our nation's history on behalf of the people. Political parties, including the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) can, in an unfair and unjust election, lose once. We can be lied to and deceived; this is something we cannot change. But the people and our society cannot afford to lose. We must seek justice for the sake of our nation's history," Lien told supporters.

Thousands of pan-blue supporters, backed by gangsters from Mainlander organized-crime groups, staged demonstrations that lasted for weeks in front of the Presidential Office. They were protesting what they claimed to be the suspicious circumstances surrounding the March 19 shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) as well as the subsequent narrow pan-green election victory.

Yesterday, the pan-blue camp criticized the Chen administration for "blocking" its efforts to discover the "truth" behind the assassination attempt.

A committee set up by the legislature last year to investigate the shooting faced many difficulties because the administration refused to cooperate with it, Lien said.

"How is it possible that public servants have the right to deny the requests of an organization created for the people?" Lien asked.

Thus, he said, legislation should be passed establishing a second committee.

Lien said the administration and its pro-independence actions had prompted the Anti-Secession Law. However, he said, the Taiwanese people do not want to declare independence and China should understand that certain political figures do not represent the majority.

"Since China has said it hopes to end the standoff across the Strait, we must acknowledge that if we do not declare independence, China will not take military action," he said.

After finishing his remarks, Lien wiped tears from his eyes.

Also at yesterday's rally, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) echoed Lien's call for a second committee and peaceful cross-strait relations.

"The Legislative Yuan will do its best to find out the truth about the shooting through passing a statute so that the committee may be re-established according to the law," Wang said.

Wang attributed the dissolution of the committee to obstacles such as the Constitutional Court finding an article in its statute unconstitutional, as well as the government's refusal to assist the investigation.

"The committee did not last because of a lack of manpower, resources and finances," Wang said.

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