Say NO to China !!

Say Yes to Taiwan Independence

Massive Rally in Taipei: "Taiwan is not Hong Kong"

On Saturday, 28 June 1997, a large rally was held in downtown Taipei, in which more than 70,000 participants braved downpours to stage a rally asserting their island’s independence from China prior to Beijing’s take-over of Hong Kong. In front of a large flaming torch, symbolizing Taiwanese solidarity that they will not allow Taiwan to be taken over like Hong Kong.

On Sunday, a pro-China counter-demonstration drew only 100 people.

The Saturday rally -- one of the biggest in Taiwan history -- came three days before Hong Kong's handover to China, an event many Taiwanese fear could hasten Beijing's efforts to force Taiwan to go down the same road.

``China: No! No! No!'' the protesters shouted while making thumbs-down gestures. They followed up with chants of ``Taiwan: Yes! Yes! Yes!'' and waved colorful flags.

The torch was set up above a platform where protesters delivered speeches and sang Taiwanese folksongs songs in a parking lot amid high-rise office buildings.

Associated Press quoted former DPP-Presidential candidate Peng Ming-min as saying: ``After July 1, we expect China to use economic, military and all means possible to exert pressure on Taiwan. But we want to announce aloud to the world that Taiwan is not Hong Kong, that we will unite and fight, so China can never take Taiwan.''

He continued: "It is important that we must tell the world that Taiwan is not Hong Kong, that Taiwan is not part of China."

Former U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz, invoking President John F. Kennedy's famous 1963 "Ich Bin ein Berliner" address in a divided Cold War Berlin, drew cheers by using the taiwanese language to declare "Wa see Daiwan lan"-- I am a Taiwanese. He declared: "I am here to say YES to the democracy of Taiwan and NO to China for the use of force against Taiwan."

Earlier, about 4,000 protesters paraded through Taipei streets. The parade and rally were part of a weeklong ``Say No to China'' campaign that included marathons and concerts.

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Last updated on 29 June 1997.