Sun, Nov 02, 2008 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Tsai hunger strike stoked by ‘helplessness’

FEEBLE During his hunger strike, chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors Tsai Ting-kuei has only had water, but has received intravenous nutrition

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

To apply for a referendum, the signatures of 0.5 percent of all eligible voters in the most recent presidential election — approximately 80,000 — must be collected. An additional 5 percent of the population — appropriately 800,000 — must sign the petition before the referendum can be put to a vote.

For the results of the referendum to be considered valid, more than 50 percent of the electorate — approximately 8 million people — must vote on it.

“These unreasonable thresholds limit direct democracy and deprive the people of their right to decide the future of the country,” Tsai said.

Tsai’s voice was feeble.

During his hunger strike, he has only had water, refusing food, but has received intravenous nutrition.

The 60-year-old hydraulic engineering professor from National Taiwan University was sent to the hospital for a health examination after joining the 1,000 or so people at the rally in front of the legislature on Friday night in a wheelchair.

He then called off his hunger strike temporarily, and Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧), secretary-general of the TAUP, began her own.

Tsai promised to continue his hunger strike once his doctor allowed it, saying that he looked forward to seeing young and old people alike join in supporting reform.

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