Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

TSU hunger strikers extend their protest by six hours to 30

SIT-IN The protest in front of the Legislative Yuan ended late last night, after attracting visits by dozens of sympathizers earlier

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday extended its 24-hour long hunger-strike against passage of an "anti-secession" law in China.

TSU Secretary-General Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said that since supporters in the south of the country wanted to join the sit-in in front of the Legislative Yuan, the protest had been extended to 30 hours and would end at 10pm last night.

The TSU chairman, Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), other party officials and legislators began the sit-in at 4pm on Monday.

Wearing a surgical mask and a headband reading "China Invades Taiwan," Su shouted "Oppose aggression, protect Taiwan" while burning the People's Republic of China's flag.

Two Cabinet officials -- Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), secretary-general of the Executive Yuan, and Cho Jung-ta (卓榮泰), Executive Yuan spokesman -- visited the TSU protesters yesterday.

Fifty Japanese fans of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) who are visiting Taipei also showed up to give their support.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun met yesterday afternoon with the 11 TSU representatives on behalf of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at the Presidential Office. The delegation, led by TSU caucus whip Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), presented a petition urging the president to hold a "defensive referendum."

Saying that he would forward the TSU's appeal to Chen, Yu thanked the TSU for its efforts in recent days in protesting against the Chinese law.

"Claiming to be a `peaceful emerging' nation, China should be a stabilizing force in the Asia-Pacific region; yet with the passage of its anti-secession law, it is becoming the trouble-maker and the root of the region's instability," Presidential Office spokesman Chen Wen-tsung (陳文宗) said yesterday, relaying remarks made by Yu during the 40-minute meeting with the TSU group.

Yu also reiterated the president's support for the March 26 rally, but would not say whether Chen would attend it.

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