Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Yu plans rallies for referendum on KMT assets

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday announced that he would campaign for a referendum on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets by holding 100 rallies around the nation starting today.

Yu told a press conference that the nationwide rallies would begin today in Kaohsiung to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the death of human rights activist Deng Nan-jung(鄭南榕).

Deng was the publisher of the Freedom Era (自由時代) weekly. He immolated himself when police attempted to arrest him in 1989, to protest against the KMT's oppression of the freedom of the press.

Yu called the demonstrations the "Support Taiwan and Fight for Justice" rallies and said the highlight of today's rally would be a symbolic gesture depicting the recovery of the stolen assets.

Yu said the KMT did not want to return the assets to the public and had blocked legislation on the issue, which forced the DPP to initiate a campaign calling for a referendum.

Saying that little progress had been made over the past two months, Yu said he would increase the number of pro-referendum signatures he was responsible for from 5,000 to 50,000.

The Referendum Law (公投法) stipulates that campaigners must collect 850,000 signatures calling for a referendum by July 23, six months after a referendum proposal passed its review. However, the DPP had set a personal goal of 1 million signatures.

On Thursday the party made public that it had only accomplished 6.17 percent of its goal.

In a bid to reach the goal, the DPP had divided up the responsibility for collecting signatures and assigned shares to party officials. Yu, one of the DPP's presidential hopefuls, has reached his goal of 5,000. Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), another presidential contender, has collected 3,000 names.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has collected 66.67 percent of his 3,000-signature share, and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) has not collected any signatures, the party's figures indicated.

"Although Taiwan is a democracy, the DPP has been in office for seven years and transitional justice has not been carried out," Yu said.

"Many injustices remain in Taiwan and they comprise a great obstacle between Taiwanese and happiness," he said.

"Over the past seven years the DPP has failed to keep many of its promises, which has led the public to distrust the DPP," he said.

"I hope we will realize the referendum no matter what happens. This is a matter of confidence and perseverance," he said.

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