Sun, Nov 04, 2007 - Page 3 News List

President, supporters welcome torch relay back to Taipei after 11-day tour

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A crowd holding fluorescent sticks and positioned to form the letters "VT" for "Victory Taiwan" on Ketagalan Boulevard welcomed the return of a torch relay promoting the nation's UN bid to Taipei last night after an 11-day national tour.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) received the torches on Xinyi Road from athletes who completed the 1200km relay across 25 cities and counties.

Chen and Lu led one group of supporters down one road, while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and running mate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) led another down a separate road, meeting up on Ketagalan Boulevard for the celebrations.

DPP officials jointly lit a cauldron of oil with the torches, while the crowd cheered "UN for Taiwan, Peace Forever" and "Taiwan jiayou" (加油, an expression of encouragement).

Chang Yi-chan (張益瞻), deputy secretary-general of the UN for Taiwan Alliance (UNTA), said the "V" for victory and "T" for Taiwan symbolized the torch relay as a harbinger of hope for the nation's UN bid.

UNTA, which organized the torch relay for the DPP, provided electric torches and fluorescent sticks for the crowd.

DPP Culture and Information Department Director Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) said the DPP had gathered 2.5 million signatures for its proposed referendum on the nation's bid to join the UN, reflecting the public's resolution on the issue.

In related news, Hsieh's campaign office yesterday launched a "one letter per person" campaign, urging citizens to each send one letter to the UN to promote the nation's UN bid.

Dropping a postcard into a mail box yesterday, Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), secretary-general of Hsieh's campaign office, called on the public to make their voices heard.

The postcard was designed by Hsieh's camp and features the faces of people of different ages and nationalities.

Lee said an empty space at the center was intended for the senders to put on a personal photo to show their support of Taiwan's UN application.

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