More than 400 independence advocates took to the streets yesterday in Taipei under the scorching sun, urging the public not to be “deceived” by the new government but to take the nation’s fate into its own hands.
Organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP), the marchers waved green flags with the shape of Taiwan in the center and shouted independence slogans. Banners read: “Be masters of Taiwan, not slaves of China.”
MYTH OR REALITY?
“There is no such thing as the Republic of China, only the nation of Taiwan,” TAUP chairman Tsai Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said in a speech. “As Taiwanese, we must stop allowing a foreign regime to rule over this land. We must have the courage to stand up against the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] government to prevent four years of insults to and humiliation of the Taiwanese population.”
Tsai said it was “deeply regrettable” that the pro-localization Democratic Progressive Party lost the presidential election to the pro-unification KMT. The defeat should motivate more people to fight for Taiwan’s sovereignty, he said.
“No one [else] can determine the fate of Taiwan. Not the Chinese. Not the Americans. Only the Taiwanese people can determine Taiwan’s future,” he said.
Ninety-one-year-old Su Beng (史明), often called the “father of the Taiwanese independence movement,” was unable to attend the rally for health reasons but asked his personal assistant to read a statement he wrote.
In the statement, Su asked the public to cherish the Taiwanese culture that their forefathers so painstakingly contributed to and warned the public against being “brainwashed” again by a “foreign regime.”
He said that after World War II, more than 60 colonized and occupied countries in Africa, the South Pacific and elsewhere declared independence. Taiwan’s struggle for independence, however, is still being obstructed by Beijing.
“Taiwan has a better than average economy and industries. We have more than 20 million people, yet we are still living under the shadow of colonialism,” he said, citing the KMT, the Chinese Communist Party and the disunity of the Taiwanese public as major stumbling blocks to de jure independence.
One demonstrator said she was disheartened by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election victory in March.
“I will never trust him to protect Taiwan’s national dignity,” said Lin Hsueh-chu (林雪珠), a Taipei City resident. “Opening Taiwan up to China will only bring Taiwan’s economy to an all-time low because China just can’t be trusted.”
Bai She-liu (白射榴), also at the rally, said he had taken time off from work to attend the march to “mourn Taiwan’s vanishing democracy.”