The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that it would hold a march against Chinese annexation in Kaohsiung on Saturday, the same day pro-independence group the Formosa Alliance is to hold a rally in Taipei to oppose annexation and call for a referendum on the issue.
The DPP Central Standing Committee on Sept. 19 passed a resolution barring party members from attending the alliance’s rally on Ketagalan Boulevard, citing an insufficient workforce ahead of next month’s elections.
However, it decided to send a team of representatives — including caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and DPP Electoral Strategy Committee coconvener Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) — to communicate with the alliance on the issue.
The DPP is not against the alliance’s theme of opposing Chinese annexation, but with the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections approaching, allowing DPP candidates to attend the Taipei rally could affect the momentum of party campaigns, Chen told reporters.
At the party’s meeting last month, members discussed whether to attend the rally, he said, adding that some said it should, while others opposed the idea and some voiced concern over Formosa Television highlighting the party’s absence.
The committee decided to bar all party members from attending so that responsibility would fall entirely on the party, he said.
Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) has visited alliance convener Kuo Pei-hung (郭倍宏) — who is also chairman of Formosa TV — many times, Chen Ming-wen said, adding that he does not know whether Kuo agrees with the party’s stance on the rally.
The DPP yesterday spoke with leaders of pro-independence groups, who “basically understood” the party’s stance, which does not contravene its long-term goal of defending Taiwan’s right to self-determination, he said.
The DPP is not against protesting Chinese annexation, he added.
In addition, the responsibility to approve road-use applications lies with the Taipei City Government, DPP spokesman Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said, responding to the alliance’s accusation that the DPP administration and city government blocked the group from receiving permission to use Ketagalan Boulevard.
The rally organizer must understand this procedure, so the accusation could only be an attempt at smearing the party, he said, demanding an apology from the group.
The city government has already explained that the group cannot not be granted use of the road because another group has already been given permission to use it that day, Cheng said.
The DPP has never opposed granting the alliance road use or intervened in its application process, he said.
While it agrees that every citizen has the right to participate in rallies and marches, the party respects the city government’s explanation, Cheng added.
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