Published: Tue, October 23, 2018

Taiwanese in major rally for Independence

Taiwanese in major rally for Independence

Gathered in the narrow street, the protesters shouted slogans like "Taiwan is Taiwan" and "We are an independent country", waved flags and carried placards emblazoned with phrases such as, "Say no to China, say yes to Taiwan" and "No more bullying, no annexation".

"Taiwanese people want an independent country and to be their own masters", he said.

Organized by the Formosa Alliance, the protesters urged the government to hold a referendum in favor of using the name Taiwan instead of Republic of China, which they said has led to a very common misunderstanding around the world that Taiwan is a part of China.

In an October 10 National Day address, Tsai called on China not to be a "source of conflict" and pledged to boost Taiwan's defenses against Beijing's military threats.

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.

"Only through holding a referendum can Taiwanese people show to the global community our right to build an independent new country", said Tsai Wen-li, 63, a retired postal worker who wore a T-shirt reading "Taiwan is my country".

"The Taiwanese public must step out to have their voices heard and decide for themselves, otherwise China will decide for us", said alliance spokesman Yang Tsung-li (楊宗澧).


By his measured approach, Ms. Tsai has made enemies among the guerrillas of the PDP.

"The PDP has forbidden his officials and candidates to participate in the event, organising its own protest against the" annexation" of Taiwan by China in its stronghold of Kaohsiung (south), without calling for a vote on independence. But the rally did not call for an independence vote and in a statement ahead of the protest, the DPP emphasized that it did not want to "change the status quo of Taiwan's independent sovereignty".

A vote on independence would require an amendment to current laws, which bar referendums on changing the constitution or sovereign territory.

The rally organised by the Formosa Alliance, backed by two pro-independence former Taiwan presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, is said to be the largest since Taiwan separated from China and is estimated to have witnessed about 80,000 participants.

However, analysts agree that Tsai would be unlikely to allow such an amendment, which would be a red flag to Beijing.

The organizer Formosa Alliance claims there were more than 120,000 people attending the event, while the United Daily News reported about 30,000 people turned up.

"The DPP rally in Kaohsiung shows the party was anxious about losing the support of pro-independence groups and that it also opposes the mainland", said political commentator Lo Chih-chiang, who was an aide to Taiwan's former president Ma Ying-jeou.

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