Thu, Sep 04, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Name-change forces take fight to streets

ON THE MARCH Supporters will gather in front of the the Presidential Office to hear Lee Teng-hui speak about why this country should be officially called Taiwan

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan speak at a press conference yesterday to promote the march to be held on Saturday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

A march on Saturday to campaign for changing the name of the country from the Republic of China (ROC) to Taiwan will attract 100,000 people, organizers forecast yesterday.

The Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan said that supporters of 113 domestic and overseas groups will join a rally in front of the Presidential Office to raise public awareness that "Taiwan" should be used as the name for the country instead of "ROC" which is often confused with the People's Republic of China.

The organization said that groups from the US, Japan, Argentina, Paraguay, Costa Rica and Australia would attend the rally.

Marchers will gather in six locations -- Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Taiwan University, the 228 Memorial Park, Chungshan Football Stadium, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall -- before proceeding to the Presidential Office.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), the leader of the campaign, is scheduled to join the march and deliver a speech at the rally, organizers said, even though he underwent heart surgery on Monday last week.

Wang Hsieh-chi (王憲極), chief organizer of the event who briefed Lee on Tuesday night, said: "Former president Lee appeared in good condition, and he promised that he would join the rally as scheduled."

However, for the sake of Lee's health, "we have arranged for Lee to walk just a small portion of the procession and have him rest before he delivers the speech," Wang said.

Leading members of the campaign yesterday took the opportunity to again express why they feel the country's name needs changing.

Ng Chiao-tong (黃昭堂), one of the national conveners of the campaign, said: "The campaign drive does not represent any political party or individual. It is a common interest of all Taiwanese people that we want our nation's name corrected. We hope all Taiwanese will stand behind this campaign."

DPP lawmaker Trong Chai (蔡同榮), a seasoned activist for Taiwan's independence, said: "If Taiwan keeps muddling along for five more years without taking steps to achieve independent sovereignty, Taiwan will be swallowed by China.

"Rectifying the nation's name from ROC to Taiwan is a step toward building the country of Taiwan," Chai said.

In addition to private groups, the DPP and TSU will mobilize around 50,000 supporters to join the rally.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the party would give its full support to the campaign. He said the DPP had long promoted Taiwan as an independent sovereign state.

"Based on the principle of `one country on each side' of the Taiwan Strait, the DPP will actively mobilize its supporters to fully participate in the campaign," Lee said.

The TSU will also hold its second anniversary celebrations on Saturday at the 228 Memorial Party, after which Chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) will lead TSU supporters in the march.

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