Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Independence is not deep green, but universal: Yu

HAND-IN-HAND The head of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign said that nationwide rallies in favor of a new constitution and a sit-in at the UN were being prepared

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Protesters rally for the nation's right to independence during an ''Anniversary of the Republic of Taiwan'' event in Taipei yesterday. President Chen Shui-bian on Thursday defended the nation's move to press ahead with attempts to gain membership in the UN, a quest that has met with opposition in Beijing and Washington.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING. AP

The notion that Taiwan is a sovereign nation is neither an extreme nor a "deep green" belief, but rather a mainstream public sentiment, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.

"Somebody once said that Taiwanese independence was an ideal of the nation's `fundamentalists,' but this was only true six months ago," Yu said, without clarifying the statement.

"The situation is different now. Loving Taiwan means we must act in accordance with mainstream public opinion, which favors independence," Yu said, addressing a pro-independence rally held by the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign on Songzhi Rd in Taipei yesterday afternoon.

The rally's highlight was a flag-raising ceremony and a chorus of the "national anthem" for the "Republic of Taiwan."

Instead of the nation's current flag, the campaign presented the crowd with a flag with a white background and the shape of Taiwan in green in the center, symbolizing Taiwan as a peaceful and friendly "maritime state."

Participants at the rally chanted "Republic of Taiwan" and "Taiwanese" in Hoklo, also known as Taiwanese, while a giant green balloon in the form of the "Republic of Taiwan" was released and soared to the sky, symbolizing "the birth of the Republic of Taiwan."

Head of the campaign Peter Wang (王獻極) told the rally that the campaign was planning a hand-in-hand demonstration to be held at locations across the nation to make clear the public's determination to write their own constitution.

The group hopes to mobilize 3 million people on Feb. 28 next year, positioning groups of 500 people at 6,000 stops on the nation's highways at the same time, he said.

The campaign then plans to send 6,000 of the demonstrators to stage a silent sit-in protest in front of the UN's New York headquarters on Sept. 8 next year, he said.

"During the eight-year term of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), although he had great administrative resources, he failed to fulfill his promises [of writing a new constitution] and did not accomplish anything for the people," Wang said.

The rally later marched from Renai road to the American Institute in Taiwan, where participants urged the US to respect Taiwan's right to self-determination and to support the referendum on applying to the UN under the name "Taiwan."

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