Fri, Sep 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

`Independence' marked in flag-raising celebration

THE RED, GREEN AND BLUE A group of supporters of Taiwan's independence gathered near the Presidential Office to commemorate the San Francisco Peace Treaty

BY JEWEL HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Attendants at a Taiwan Republic flag-raising ceremony organized yesterday by Peter Wang, leader of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign, wave flags reading ''Taiwan Republic.''

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

As a baritone sang Taiwan the Green and about 500 people gazed on, a green, blue and red flag with the characters "Republic of Taiwan" as it was raised slowly against the backdrop of the cinnamon-and-white Presidential Office yesterday to commemorate Taiwan's Independence Day, as recognized by pro-independence activists.

Organized by pro-independence stalwart Peter Wang (王獻極), who is also the leader of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign, the flag-raising ceremony was launched on Ketagelan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office at 9:08am yesterday, in memory of a day 44 years ago.

September 8 should be set aside as "Taiwan's Independence Day" to mark Taiwan's de facto independence, since the date recalls Japan's signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, in which it relinquished its claim to Taiwan, Wang said yesterday, before the flag was raised.

The campaign organization set up a flag-raising platform on a truck that parked on Ketagalan Boulevard, and about 500 participants coming from Tainan, Hsinchu and Taichung gathered in front of the platform to attend the ritual. Most of the participants were Taiwan Solidarity Union supporters, although three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers also attended the event.

Gazing at the flag fluttering in the wind on the sunny day, five young women recited a declaration of Taiwan's independence in Hoklo, Hakka, Mandarin, Amis and English, while a Presbyterian Church minister said a prayer for Taiwan. The song Taiwan the Green was one of the event's theme songs, composed by musician Hsiao Tyzen (蕭泰然) and theologian Chen Er-yu (鄭兒玉).

"I think this ceremony is meaningful and young people should know this date that is significant for Taiwan's destiny," a 60 year-old old woman from Tainan City said yesterday.

After the ceremony, Wang also announced an agenda for Taiwan's independence movement, saying that the alliance would unveil the Constitution of the Republic of Taiwan in 2007 and call on 3 million people to endorse the content of the new constitution on Feb.28, 2008. Pro-independence groups will request the new president in 2008 to promulgate the new constitution. A flag-raising ceremony will be held again on Sept. 8 in 2008, and 8,000 young people will take the new constitution and parade around the UN in the US to appeal for Taiwan to become a member of the world body.

"Hopefully the flag of Republic of Taiwan will actually rise above the Presidential Office in 2008," Wang said.

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