President Chen Shui-bian (
"Referendums have been carried out in many democratic countries for a long time ... and for all Taiwanese, this is the recovery of their original rights, which should have come about long ago," Chen said.
"The government is now drawing a plan to set up [a referendum mechanism]," he added, "I have 100 percent confidence that the people of Taiwan will accomplish this historical mission rationally," he said.
Accompanied by Vice President Annette Lu (
Chen stressed that last year he had told participants in the meeting that Taiwan had to "go its own way," which he defined as "the way of democracy, freedom, and human rights," which he called a correct path from which there was no turning back.
"Now, while the whole world is watching whether we can continue along this road to make history, I announced on June 27 that the government will hold referendums on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and other important public issues on March 20 next year or before that date," Chen said.
"This will be the first time in Taiwan's history that people of the country can exercise direct democracy and make the final decision on national issues," Chen said.
Chen then compared his referendum policy with Hong Kong's recently proposed "anti-subversion" legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law.
Pointing out the widespread fears that the proposed legislation will curtail basic liberties of Hong Kong residents, Chen said Hong Kong's experience under China's rule proved that Beijing's "one country, two systems" model was developing in a way quite antithetical to Taiwan.
"Over 500,000 Hong Kong people marched through the streets to express their opposition to the legislation, which aims to repress freedom of speech ... showing that people in Hong Kong have woken up and realized that only by supporting [Hong Kong's] freedoms and democratization can they ensure its future prosperity," Chen said.
"In comparison with China's rude pressure [such as] blocking Taiwan's bid to enter the World Health Organization [WHO], as well as Hong Kong's current situation, we can only conclude that the real meaning of `two systems' is totalitarianism and oppression. The policy is a sham," Chen said.
Last year, when addressing the 29th annual meeting of the WFTA in Tokyo on Aug. 3, Chen raised the stakes with China by claiming in a 20-minute video presentation that there was "one country on either side" (一邊一國) of the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan had to seriously consider passing a referendum law to protect the country's sovereignty.
On that occasion, he also reiterated that Taiwan must go its "own way" in building its future in the wake of Beijing's rejection of Taiwan's goodwill toward improving cross-strait relations.
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and
PEACE AND STABILITY: ‘Taiwan can be of tremendous value’ in building resilient supply chains, President Tsai Ing-wen said, as she encouraged closer ties with foreign businesses A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely for the time being due to the internal challenges and international pressure that China is facing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the New York Times in an interview shown on Wednesday. “My thought is that perhaps this is not a time for them [China] to consider a major invasion of Taiwan,” Tsai said in a prerecorded interview for the DealBook Summit held by the newspaper on Wednesday. Beijing’s leadership is presently “overwhelmed by its internal challenges” on economic, financial and political grounds, while the international community “has made it loud and clear that war is
COUNTER DISINFORMATION: More engagement and media literacy are needed to push back against misinformation and claims that the US is an unreliable partner, the AIT director said The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation. She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio. “There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future. Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification,