Participants at a meeting of groups that oppose signing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China on Monday night agreed to follow an initiative to hold a rally against the proposed trade pact.
“For the time being, we will continue to support the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s [TSU] signature drive for an ECFA referendum,” Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), convener of the Taiwan Referendum Alliance, told the Taipei Times yesterday.
“However, we think the first stage of the TSU to submit the petition signatures will come too late, as the date [for doing so] has been set for April 25,” he said.
Although Tsay said it would be nice to see the TSU petition for a referendum passed by the Central Election Committee and for the second stage of the petition process to begin, “we do not anticipate this will happen under the current atmosphere created by [President] Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.”
“We are prepared to convey a proposal to the Democratic Progressive Party, which is expected to hold a rally against an ECFA on May 20, the second anniversary of Ma’s inauguration,” Tsay said. “Our proposal is that the rally request the Legislative Yuan and/or Ma to respond to a resolution for an ECFA referendum in accordance with the Referendum Act [公民投票法], rather than just dismiss the rally at the end of the day.”
Tsay said his group was prepared to apply continuous pressure on the legislature and the Ma administration by holding rallies of between 5,000 and 10,000 protesters a day around the legislature.
“We believe it is our civil right to have a referendum on the ECFA. We are convinced that the Republic of China under Ma has clearly proved itself to be a Chinese government exiled in Taipei and that Ma has chosen to suppress the freedoms of Taiwanese by denying a referendum — even under current laws that make it extremely difficult to pass a referendum,” Tsay said.
On whether the DPP would approve the proposal, Tsay said that remained to be seen and that his organization understood that the DPP also had to keep electoral considerations in mind.
“They [the DPP] have tried very hard to please both the upper and lower classes of society,” Tsay said. “Signing an ECFA would amplify the economic gap between the rich and the poor. Some DPP spokesman insisted on TV that DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has yet to say that she is against an ECFA, though she does say that the matter should be decided via a referendum.”
“This will do more damage to the DPP than they think,” he said. “If the DPP fails to block an ECFA for the welfare of Taiwanese, we all feel that forming another stronghold to give Taiwanese a strong voice would be both a pragmatic and necessary alternative.”
The coast guard on Friday took a Chinese fishing boat and the 17 people on board into custody, after it rammed into a patrol boat while attempting to flee. A 100-tonne coast guard vessel at about 8am discovered a Chinese fishing boat illegally operating in waters about 11 nautical miles (20.4km) northwest of Hsinchu, the Hsinchu offshore flotilla of the Coast Guard Administration said. The crew refused to allow law enforcement to board the ship and attempted to flee, it added. The coast guard vessel and another ship chased the fishing boat for about a half hour, during which time the Chinese boat
Vice President William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that Beijing was trying to “annex” Taiwan, while China said its recent series of drills near Taiwan are aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces. The Ministry of National Defense earlier this month said that it had observed dozens of Chinese fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby. The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said last week. Asked about the spurt
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching