Taipei, 27 June 1998.
Thousands of Taiwan independence advocates took part in a
demonstration Saturday, demanding that the government hold a
referendum on Dec. 5 to allow voters to determine the future of the
island. The event was organized by about 20 pro-independence groups
such as the Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) and Association of
Organizers said they wanted to express concern over the possible
effects on Taiwan of the summit meeting between US President Bill
Clinton and mainland Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and highlight
the right of Taiwan citizens to self-determination.
Demonstrators gathered in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial
Hall at 3:30 p.m., each wearing orange bands on their heads. They
also carried banners reading: "One Taiwan, One China" or "Protecting
Taiwan, Founding A New Country".
Lee Chen-yuan, TAIP honorary chairman and leader of the
demonstration, said Clinton was doing quite well in the summit. He
pointed out that in the news conference following the meeting
between the two leaders, Clinton did not say Taiwan is a part of
mainland China. Lee said that the so-called "Taiwan issue"
cannot be tackled by only the US and the mainland. Through
self-determination by Taiwan people and peaceful pressure from the
international community can the dispute between the mainland and
Taiwan be peacefully solved, he said.
Professor Kao Cheng-yen at the National Taiwan University said the
results of the Clinton-Jiang meeting showed that US policy toward
China has not changed much. He said at a time when the Kuomintang
still seeks unification, the people of Taiwan demand the right to
decide if they want to establish a new country.
Legislator Yeh Chu-lan of the opposition Democratic Progressive
Party said no matter what the results of the Clinton-Jiang meeting
are, it would not affect the determination of the people of Taiwan
to declare their own country. She expressed hope that the
demonstration will let the international community know the wishes
of the people of Taiwan.
Demonstrators marched to the American Institute in Taiwan, the
American de facto embassy to Taiwan. A declaration was read in front
of the institute, stressing that the future of Taiwan should be
determined by its 21 million residents. The statement said although
the group feels Clinton's proposal that "the Taiwan issue
should be peacefully solved" is in line with the common
interest of maintaining international peace and development, the
island's sovereignty and the people's dignity should be respected.
It urged the government to immediately institute a referendum law to
allow people to vote on the independence issue on Dec. 5, a date
that coincides with legislative elections.
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