[QODLink]
Archive
Chen supporters rally against China

More than 100,000 supporters of Taiwan

Last Modified: 18 Mar 2006 11:26 GMT
Supporters of the president carried inflatable missiles

More than 100,000 supporters of Taiwan's pro-independence president have joined a rally to protest against China's threat to use force against the self-ruled island.

The rally on Saturday, organised by Chen Shui-bian, the Taiwanese president, marked the first anniversary of China's passage of the Anti-Secession Law that authorises war if Taiwan declares statehood, thereby violating Beijing's "one China" policy.

 

China and Taiwan split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

 

Chanting "Oppose missiles, Want peace", and holding red balloons and inflatable toy Chinese missiles, President Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the huge crowd showed to the world the Taiwan people's determination to defend a democratic way of life.

 

Song Wen-ling, 60, said: "Taiwan is not part of China and China should stop threatening us with its missiles and with its bullets."

 

Taipei said Beijing has accumulated nearly 800 missiles aimed at the island and was adding to its arsenal at a rate of between 75 and 100 a year.

 

Some security analysts say the Taiwan Strait is one of Asia's most dangerous spots.

 

Taiwanese democracy

 

Lee Guo-qing, a 48-year-old engineer, said: "Taiwan is a democracy, whether or not we should be independent or be part of China is up to us Taiwanese. We should not submit to China bullying."

 

Chen told the rally that China
could not decide Taiwan's fate

Chen did not join the march to the presidential office. But in the speech at the end of the rally, Chen told the crowd that he stood firmly by his decision to scrap a symbolic Taiwanese body called the National Unification Council last month. His action was condemned by China.

 

Chen said: "Taiwan is an independent, sovereign country. Taiwan's national sovereignty belongs to its 23 million people.

 

"Taiwan's national sovereignty, Taiwan's future is not up to China's 1.3 billion people to decide."

 

China relations favoured

 

For Taiwan's people, the issue of reunification versus independence has always been tricky. Opinion polls consistently indicate that more than 80% of Taiwanese prefer the status quo.

 

Last week, tens of thousands of opposition supporters, who favour closer ties with China, marched through Taipei to denounce Chen.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.