Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Activists plan an eventful 228 memorial

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A series of events have been organized by a number of civil groups to mark this year's 228 Peace Memorial Day, as well as a number of events aimed at protesting against China's planned anti-secession law and raising the public's awareness of the threat posed by China to Taiwan's democracy.

The events were announced yesterday at a news conference held jointly by groups including the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Societies, as well as the Taiwan Professor's Association and a number of other organizations.

The 228 Peace Memorial Day was dedicated to commemorate the victims of the 228 Incident, a military crackdown on civilian protests that began on Feb. 27, 1947, against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration. Historians estimate that around 30,000 people were killed in the ensuing bloodshed.

Titled "228 Free Taiwan Global Action" (自由台灣全球行動), the array of events will include seminars on issues pertaining to China's anti-secession law, the activation of a 9m tall "E-Wish Tree" as well as a phone-booth that is designed to allow everyone who is interested to record their opinion about China's planned anti-secession law.

"Chinese leaders often say that they want to listen to the voice of Taiwan's people," said Chet Yang (楊文嘉), secretary-general of the Northern Taiwan Society. "We will send them the views collected from the phone-booth and let them hear what Taiwan people want to say for real."

Both the "E-Wish Tree" and the phone-booth will be placed in the square in front of the Red Chamber in Ximending in Taipei City.

According to Yang, the highlight of the series would be the gathering of a crowd holding torches at numerous designated points nationwide and cities around the world on the night of Feb. 28 to express Taiwan's determination to safeguard its freedom and protest against China's aggression.

Upcoming 228 events

* When: Feb. 20. What: Seminar on "What could Taiwan do to counter China's planned anti-secession law." Where: Conference Center at National Taiwan University.

* When: Feb. 25. What: Activation of the "E-Wish Tree" and booth that records "Voice of Taiwan" (to be attended by President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu and other political leaders). Where: At the square in front of the Red Chamber in Ximending, Taipei City.

* When: Feb. 26. What: Two rounds of Seminars on topics "Protecting Taiwan, Against Annexation." Where: Forum at National Taiwan Normal University.

* When: Feb. 28. What: Premier Frank Hsieh to lead members of his Cabinet to the "E-Wish Tree" and to make a wish. Where: At the square in front of the Red Chamber in Ximending, Taipei City.

* When: Feb. 28. What: Former President Lee Ten-hui to lead the activation of the "Light of Taiwan" event. Where: 228 Memorial Park.

* When: Feb. 28 at 8:22pm. What: Launch of the "Light of Taiwan" event. Where: 16 cities and counties nationwide and more than 10 designed points around the globe, including New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco in the US, Tokyo and Hiroshima in Japan and cities in Europe.

Source: TT

"We hope many people -- like during the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally -- would come and join us and show China and the whole world our voice," said Northern Taiwan Society chairman Wu Shuh-min (吳樹民). Wu was referring to the rally last year in which nearly 2 million people formed a human chain to protest China's missile build-up.

Senior presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏), who was also present at the news conference, said that "former US Secretary of State Colin Powell's statement last October that `Taiwan does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation' sent the wrong message to China."

"The anti-secesssion law is ridiculous. It will not be realized, for not only is Taiwan against it, but the international community will not buy it, either, " Koo said.

A statement titled "Century Declaration of Free Taiwan" (自由台灣世紀宣言) was drafted by Koo's wife, Michelle Wang (王美琇), expressing Taiwan's yearning for freedom.

"We will keep voicing our call to the world to respect Taiwan's right of survival, despite the UN having locked its sense of justice and its declaration of human rights in the drawer; while the US' founding spirit of freedom and justice is sometimes awake and sometimes asleep, and the democratic countries of the world oftentimes kowtow to China's power," Wang read from the declaration.

"With God as our witness, we pledge that we will strive all we can to safeguard our nation, our territory, our people, our freedom and democracy, our present lifestyle and the rights which we are born with as people of freedom," the declaration read.

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