Tens of thousands rally for Taiwan independence vote

Nellie Chapman
October 23, 2018

"There is that, through the organisation of a referendum we, the people of taiwan, can demonstrate to the worldwide community our right to build a new independent country", said Tsai Wen-li, 63 years old, a postal employee to the pension wearing a t-shirt proclaiming "Taiwan is my country". "We have to be real Taiwanese, not fake Chinese", Kuo Jung-min added.

China has always considered Taiwan a part of its territory and had cut all contact with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's government in 2016 in a bid to compel her to agree to China's belief that the country was a part of China.

Chen Te-yu (陳德裕), 70, shared Yen's view, saying that the referendum is an effective way to block China's bullying because it tells the world directly what the pro-independence Taiwanese want.

Supporters of Taiwan independence, took to the street in front of the headquarters of the ruling party of the country, said the organizer of the action - the movement of Formosa Alliance. "I don't want to see Taiwan swallowed up by China".

China's increasing engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean is part of a tactic to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, a report released on Wednesday by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said.

Rex Yang, an engineer of 35 years, compares the island to an "orphan in the worldwide community".

Organizers said 10,000 people attended the Kaohsiung event. "The Taiwanese want Taiwan to become a normal country".

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China and Taiwan separated amid civil war in 1949 and China considers the island part of its territory to be taken control of by force if necessary.

But according to analysts, it is unlikely that Ms. Tsai does amend the law, because this would be tantamount to waving a red flag in the face of Beijing.

Since coming to power, Tsai has vowed to maintain the status quo in relations between Taipei and Beijing, a position that has won her Washington's support.

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

The DPP publicly prohibited its officials and candidates from attending Saturday's rally, instead holding its own protest against China's "annexation" of Taiwan in the southern city of Kaohsiung, its traditional heartland. Unhappy with the president's moderate stance on Taiwan's global status, their main demand is for a change to the referendum law to allow the public to vote on Taiwan's independence.

"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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