Fri, Oct 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Mainlander Association calls for `reconciliation'

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amid political bickering and confrontations between the anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) campaign and supporters of the president, an organization representing second-generation Mainlanders yesterday called for reconciliation, urging politicians to swear off mass movements.

The campaign aimed at ousting the president led by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) entered its 26th day yesterday with round-the-clock sit-ins, while pro-Chen groups also held rallies to support the president and condemned the anti-Chen crowd for causing a disturbance.

"There are a lot of people in this society who are neither pro-Chen nor anti-Chen, and are against dichotomy in politics and ethnicity," said Chang Mau-kuei (張茂桂), director of the Mainlander Association, a group founded by second-generation Mainlanders to promote harmony between ethnic groups.

As relative outsiders, Chang said his group understands the anti-Chen campaign's position, but does not agree with Shih's claim that the movement has no alternative to continue its protests until Chen steps down.

"We support a democratic Taiwan, but we do not support pro-Chen groups because they promote ethnic confrontation," he told a press conference yesterday at the Legislative Yuan.

Wu Hau-ren (吳豪人), director of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, criticized both the anti-Chen and pro-Chen movements as phenomena that were initiated by political figures.

"People who identify themselves as outsiders should reject political dichotomy and seek reconciliation," he said.

Hung Chen-ling (洪貞玲), an assistant professor at the National Taiwan University's Journalism School, accused the media of intensifying social and political confrontation through biased and exaggerated coverage.

To bring about reconciliation, Chang urged the media and politicians to create more platforms for citizens with different ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations to talk to each other.

"They should encourage respect and tolerance, rather than stirring up confrontation for their own benefit," he added.

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