Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lee urges calm, pan-green unity

UNITED WE STAND The former president said it was better to stand united against China's planned `anti-secession' law than to wallow in bickering and division

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

In an effort to end disputes within the pan-green camp, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday urged officials to cease personal attacks and stop criticizing President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) after he met with People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) recently.

It's time for people of Taiwan to unite in their opposition to China's proposed "anti-secession" law, Lee said.

Lee made the remarks during an interview on Formosa TV. The former president urged people to join in a march being held on Sunday in Kaohsiung.

The march has been organized by the TSU in opposition to China's proposed anti-secession law. Lee is scheduled to give a speech at the event.

Also yesterday, about 30 Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators raised money for the march through hotline donations. They collected an estimated NT$5 million.

UNITY APPEAL

"It is better [for the pan-green camp] not to split up," Lee said. "The more people that are united, the better."

Lee said that China's legislation has many mistakes in its assumptions and urged Beijing to think twice before enacting the law.

"Taiwan has been an independent nation for years, and the fact is that Taiwan does not belong to China," Lee said. "It's wrong for China to claim that there is a threat to its sovereignty."

Echoing Lee's position, five pro-independence groups said yesterday that they will take part in a DPP rally in Taipei on Sunday. in opposition to the anti-secession law.

In response to the TSU's appeal to DPP members to quit that party and join the TSU, DPP officials yesterday accused its pan-green ally of attempting to weaken its support base. The TSU said it was only trying to recruit people who have similar beliefs about the nation's future.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Yen Wan-ching (顏萬進) rebuked the TSU, characterizing it as "looting a burning house" and "cutting the DPP's throats." He also said the TSU violated "the principle of benign competition between political parties."

"The Chen-Soong meeting was aimed at facilitating political stability and the pan-green camp should be more united in this regard," Yen said.

DPP DEFECTION

Tung Chin-hsin (董金興), director of the DPP's office in Sanchong City, Taipei County, yesterday announced that he will quit the party and join the TSU because he could not justify the party's campaign promises amid the Chen-Soong meeting to local supporters.

TSU Secretary-General Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) told a press conference yesterday that many people complained to the TSU that they felt disappointed with the remarks of DPP officials, saying the governing party has abandoned its beliefs.

"The TSU never meant to undermine the DPP's support base," Chen Chien-ming said. "The DPP's criticism of the TSU is not correct."

"The TSU has become the only party to identify with Taiwanese culture," he said.

"People join a political party on the basis of identifying with its beliefs, but they have the freedom to chose the party they side with," Chen said.

"I suggest the DPP think about why people would have so strong a reaction [to the Chen-Soong meeting] and try to explain their position to supporters, rather than just blaming the TSU," he said.

TSU Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) said he hoped Chen could respect pro-independence groups and stop hurting their feelings.

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