Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh to pan-blues: don't exploit protest

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) urged the participants of yesterday's 319 shooting protest rally to focus on the event's theme instead of using it to promote a political agenda.

"The [319 shooting] rally intends to seek truth, democracy and peace," Hsieh said. "Whoever participates in the rally should keep that in mind. This is not an event for those who want to express their political bias."

Hsieh made the remarks while visiting an Aboriginal community in Wufong Township, Hsinchu County, yesterday morning.

The premier said that anyone has the right to express themselves in public, but whoever does so must consider other people's feelings.

"It is a democratic country. Everyone has to respect everyone else," the premier said.

"If somebody takes advantage of the rally for selfish reasons, it will not be fair to other participants." Hsieh added.

Yesterday's rally was organized by pan-blue supporters, including the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), New Party and People First Party (PFP). They were protesting against the March 19 assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), which took place exactly one year ago yesterday.

The PFP said before the event that it would not encourage its members to join the rally. Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was also absent.

Since Soong signed a 10-point statement with Chen on Jan. 24, the PFP has distanced itself from the KMT.

Hsieh also said yesterday that he may join the pan-green-organized "Anti-Secession Law" protest march next Saturday. The law is widely regarded to give Beijing a legal justification to use "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan should it move toward indepen-dence.

Hsieh said he will make a decision whether or not to participate in the march no later than tomorrow.

"If my participation is helpful in promoting peace and democracy, I think I will join the march," he said.

In addition to his comments on the rally activities, Hsieh also said that he will work on education programs geared toward Aboriginal children. The first thing that needs to be done is open more kindergartens in Aboriginal communities, Hsieh said.

"New kindergartens will be incorporated into existing elementary schools in Aboriginal communities so more kids will be taken care of before they begin their elementary school studies," Hsieh said.

"We will also help these elementary schools purchase more LCD TV sets. It will help the children get up-to-the-minute information," the premier added.

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