Say NO to China

Say Yes to Taiwan Independence

6-28 Rally in Dallas

by Berta Delgado Staff Writer of the Dallas Morning News

Carrying signs that read "Let Taiwan be Taiwan" and shouting "China, hands off Taiwan," a group of about 200 gathered at the John F. Kennedy Memorial on Saturday to make people aware of the fears they have for their homeland.

With Great Britain's handover of Hong Kong to China on Tuesday, some Taiwanese fear that their island could be engulfed by China in the next few years. So, "Say No to China" rallies were held Saturday in a handful of cities across the United States and in Taipei , Taiwan.

Local participants said they couldn't imagine a better place to gather than at the four walled memorial downtown. "We chose the memorial because John F. Kennedy stood for freedom", said Y. T. Lin, an officer with the World United Formosans for Independence, one of four groups that sponsored the Dallas Rally.

The Dallas Chapter of the Taiwanese Association of America, the Taiwanese Collegians and the Taiwanese Hakka Association also sponsored the two-hour rally Saturday afternoon that started with chants and ended in song after a march in downtown.

"We hope to let people know that Hong Kong reverts to China, but Taiwan is different from Hong Kong in many ways," said Nora Tsay, president of the local chapter of the Taiwanese Association of America. "We don't want to be another Hong Kong. We want to remain a free democratic country, not under Communist control. "It's only fair that the future of Taiwan is up to the 21 million people in Taiwan to decide," she said. "We want to get this message across nationwide, but not only in America, we also want to let China know."

Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1841 after China's defeat in the Opium War. Britain leased additional land on the peninsula across from Hong Kong island in 1898 for 99 years. That lease expires at mid-night Monday. After 156 years of separation, China has promised to implement for Hong Kong a "One Country, Two systems" concept for the next 50 years.

Holding signs that read, "One Taiwan, One China," participants in the rally said Taiwan and Hong Kong are too different to compare. "Taiwan has been a de facto independent country since 1949," said Helen Ling. "China has never had Taiwan under control… We want to preserve our democracy and freedom."

Just last week, Taiwan showed off its military arsenal in what was believed to have been an exercise to display a major difference between the country and Hong Kong. But Taiwanese officials denied that the July 1 handover had anything to do with it. "We have to buy enough, train enough, so that China understands that we are prepared to pay the necessary price to resist Bejing aggression," Sen. Parris Chang, an opposition member of the Taiwanese Parliament, told The Associated Press last week. "That is the meaning of deterrence."

Ms. Tsay said Taiwanese-Americans are feeling a sense of urgency. "We're trying to help the people back home, and holding rallies is one thing we can do," she said.

Elaine Tsay, 11, who held a "Honk for Taiwan" poster while standing near Commerce Street, said she believes the rally helped. "People are honking," Ms. Tsay's niece said excitedly. "They're actually supporting Taiwan. It's surprising because people don't usually pay attention to us. But they are today."

Back to: Taiwan, Ilha Formosa home page

Last updated on 30 June 1997.