Thu, Jan 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Pro-independence groups to hold big rally; plan merger

HAND-IN-HAND AGAIN Former president Lee Teng-hui will lead people in a protest against China's anti-secession law, among other things

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pro-independence groups, led by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), will launch a rally on Feb. 28 to voice strong objections to Beijing's anti-secession law, and to show their support for making a new constitution and changing the country's official name.

Lee will hold a news conference on Monday to announce the rally details and outline a long-term plan for pushing for a new constitution and a new official name for the country, World United Formosans for Independence chairman Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂) said yesterday.

In order to consolidate the power of the pro-independence groups, the Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan and Action for a Taiwanese Constitution will be integrated into the Hand-in-Hand Taiwan Alliance, which organized the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally last year.

According to Ng, Lee will be the alliance's convener, and Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) will be in charge of the movement concerned with making a new constitution, and North Society chairman Wu Shuh-min (吳樹民) will take care of changes of the nation's name.

Ng said the rally to protest the anti-secession law will basically continue the appeals of 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally, but that the rally will not be as massive as last year's.

Meanwhile, in response to Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) remarks that "the Executive Yuan will not force itself to push for correcting the country's official name," Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) yesterday criticized it as a passive statement, and said that the TSU could not accept Hsieh's remarks. However, the TSU could understand the ruling party's logic, Chen said.

"The TSU believes that making a new constitution and rectifying the country's official name are definitely issues in the mainstream of public opinion, and they are also a long-term goal for the pan-green camp," he said.

"If the DPP can't do it [change the nation's name], then let the TSU do it," Chen said.

DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) defended Hsieh, saying that Hsieh's remarks were based on "pragmatic thinking," which could avoid controversy. This was a more circuitous, yet firm, approach to achieving the ultimate goals, he said.

Wang Kang-hou (王康厚), financial director of Action for a Taiwanese Constitution said yesterday that he did not want to comment on the government's stance about changing the nation's name. However, he said,the social groups like his will not give up their promises to the country and people of Taiwan.

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