Sat, Feb 28, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Hand in hand? Not for the blue bloods

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Not to be outdone by the high-profile "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally" to be staged this afternoon, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance will try to grab its share of the media limelight by carrying out activities of its own.

The pan-blue camp's "Heart-to-Heart Rally" will convey its call for ethnic harmony through a blood donation campaign, among other events today.

It will compete for attention with the pan-green camp's 500km-long human chain, to be formed by more than 1 million participants hand-in-hand along the nation's north-south provincial highways, which will demand peace and express defiance toward the nearly 500 Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan.

"Feb. 28 is a day full of sad sentiment," KMT spokesman Justin Chou (周守訓) said of the 228 Peace Memorial Day, which is observed in remembrance of the tens of thousands of people killed and persecuted by the KMT administration in the unrest and aftermath of the 228 Incident of 1947.

"To mark the day, the KMT-PFP alliance has chosen to pull up its sleeves and donate blood as its way of expressing its efforts and expectations for ethnic harmony,"Chou said at a press conference held at the alliance's national headquarters yesterday.

A station for donating blood will be set up this afternoon at Kaohsiung's Chungcheng Stadium.

The alliance's presidential candidate, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), will make an appearance at the event to promote the alliance's position on ethnic reconciliation.

"Through the donation of blood, it is our wish to demonstrate that we are all one family and that there will be no more pigeon-holing of people who are Hoklo, Hakka, Mainlander or Aboriginal," Chou said.

The pan-blue camp's "Heart-to-Heart Rally" includes a 2,000km-long torch relay which started 14 days ago and which has passed through 319 cities, townships and villages.

The final leg will reach Taipei tonight, finishing at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. It will be led in its final stage by Lien and People First Party chairman and vice presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜).

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