Sun, Aug 31, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Rally targets Ma on 100th day in office

MEET IN THE MIDDLE Tens of thousands of protesters began their walk at around 2:30pm from two points in Taipei, eventually converging on the Presidential Office

By Meggie Lu and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The rally reached a climax at 5:30pm when DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) addressed the crowd.

Blasting Ma for sacrificing national sovereignty in favor of closer ties with China and for failing to revitalize the economy, Tsai said that what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) cannot deliver, the DPP can.

“We promise to give Taiwanese a better DPP, to improve the economy and to create a more democratic Taiwan,” she said.

“We are here to tell the government we care about Taiwan’s sovereignty and economy and passing sunshine bills,” she said, leading the crowd in chanting “Go Taiwan.”

Taiwan Society president Wu Shu-ming (吳樹民), former presidential adviser Koo Kuang-min (辜寬敏) and former Government Information Office (GIO) minister Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) also addressed the crowd.

Former DPP vice presidential candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was out of the country, and former DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) issued a statement on Friday saying he would not attend the rally because he did not want his appearance to distract from its efforts.

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) was also absent.

While addressing an annual meeting of the Taipei chapter of Taiwan Heart, an organization she founded in 2001 to promote Taiwanese identity, Lu yesterday called on Ma to admit his policy mistakes, which she said would only lead to a dead end.

Lu said it might take some time for Ma to learn how to govern the nation effectively, adding that she would like to hear Ma tell Taiwan whether he intends to stand up for its sovereignty.

Lu said Ma’s defense policy had put the country in peril when he designated Songshan Airport as one of the destinations for direct cross-strait charter flights.

Commenting on the rally yesterday, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) accused the DPP of failing to reflect upon its poor performance over the past eight years.

Yesterday’s rally was merely an attempt to shift the focus from the corruption allegations surrounding the former first family, he said.

Wu praised the Ma administration, saying it had worked to alleviate the economic hardship caused by the former DPP government, adding that the rally would not change the public’s disapproval of the DPP administration.

“Shifting the focus will not change the reality concerning corruption and money-laundering [allegations against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)]. Shifting the focus will not change the fact that Taiwanese have suffered for the past eight years,” Wu said yesterday.

“We believe Taiwanese have already made their judgment after going through years of hardship,” he said.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling, Mo Yan-chih and agencies

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