Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Overseas Taiwanese to vote in droves, group says

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than 25,000 overseas Taiwanese supporting President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election bid are expected to come home to cast their ballots for Chen in the March 20 presidential election, the leader of Chen's overseas supporters' groups said yesterday.

Wu Li-pei (吳澧培), chairman of the Global A-bian Family (海外扁友會), said that the 25,000 overseas Taiwanese who will come back to register their votes for Chen is 10 times more than the number of overseas voters in the 2000 presidential election.

Speaking at the Democratic Progressive Party's headquarters yesterday, Wu, also the chairman of the Los Angeles-based Formosa Foundation, said the reason for the increase in the number of Taiwanese expatriates returning home to vote is because they are anxious about the upcoming poll and feel the election signifies whether Taiwan's local power can take root or face the consequence of undermining Taiwan's independent sovereignty.

"We feel it is utterly urgent to re-elect Chen, because if he loses, Taiwan will probably not be able to choose its own president anymore, but will have to accept an appointed chief of the special administrative zone, like that of Hong Kong," Wu said.

"China is getting more and more powerful, and it's hard to predict what will happen in the future," Wu added.

Accompanied by other campaign representatives from Canada, Japan, Latin America and Australia in the press conference, Wu said around 5,000 overseas Taiwanese have returned home to volunteer in the campaign activities island-wide for Chen, and the Global A-bian Family has already produced two campaign TV commercials broadcasting in local TV channels to stump for Chen.

Wu said "originally we thought all we needed to do was to continue campaigning for Chen abroad after his victory in 2000. However, this time we found the opponents are ambitious to bring back authoritarianism to our democratic society."

"Therefore, we feel obligated to come back and support Taiwan's democratic development and to protect Taiwan's independent sovereignty from being undermined by China," Wu said.

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