Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Public wants ECFA referendum: Tsai

CALL FOR A VOTE The DPP chair said a recent Taiwan Thinktank poll showed Taiwanese want a referendum on the planned economic agreement with China

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that the party’s drive to reach the first benchmark for its proposed referendum on a planned economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China was going very well, without specifying how many of the 80,000 signatures needed had been collected.

She also said that a Taiwan Thinktank poll released yesterday showed that Taiwanese want a referendum to be held to decide whether to sign such a pact with China.

Tsai made the remarks in a speech yesterday at a Taiwan Thinktank Forum discussing a referendum on an ECFA.

“When President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told us that signing an ECFA with China was significant and an emergency, he never saw fit to elaborate on the process of signing it, and also hasn’t elaborated on the content and purpose of such an agreement,” Tsai said.

We have never seen a government promote a policy but refuse to offer any details or goals about it, and we have to suspect that the ECFA is part of the government’s plan to unify with China, Tsai said.

Tsai said the DPP had urged the government to hold public debates on the ECFA issue and to support a referendum.

Former National Youth Commission chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) publicized the survey results.

She said that while 13.9 percent of the public said they were clear about an ECFA, 85.9 percent said they were unclear.

Of those surveyed, 55.2 percent said they were concerned the ECFA with China would affect their lives, while 37.2 percent said they were not concerned.

The survey showed 84.5 percent supported people having the right to express their opinion on an ECFA, while only 8.5 percent said they did not.

Cheng said 71.1 percent of respondents agreed that a referendum should be passed before the government signed significant treaties with China, while 21.9 percent disagreed.

Cheng added that 61.4 percent said they would vote in an ECFA referendum if it were held, while 30.6 percent said they would not participate.

The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, among 1,080 respondents.

Tsai’s comments came a day after former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said that improved economic ties with Beijing provided an opportunity for China to assert more control over Taiwan.

In an address to a group of supporters in Taipei on Saturday night, Lee said China’s offer of increased economic benefits were aimed at making Taipei dependent on such incentives.

He said that this could reduce Taipei to a “local government” beneath Beijing’s “central government.”

“Eventually Taiwan could be manipulated by the giant country that is China,” Lee said.

Lee said that he was not opposed to exchanges with China.

“It’s very important that Taiwan sustain its status as an independent sovereign state. Now it’s time for Taiwanese to think about Taiwan’s future ... It would be stupid if Taiwanese forsake their soul in exchange for economic benefits,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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