Published: Tue, October 23, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Thousands of pro-independence demonstrators rally in Taiwan

Thousands of pro-independence demonstrators rally in Taiwan

According to the organizers, the protest drew more than 100,000 people. The chairperson Tsai Ing-wen is walking on eggs, caught between the anvil of the asian giant and the hammer of independence.

"Taiwanese people want an independent country and to be their own masters", he said.

"Want Referendum!" and "Oppose Annexation!" the crowd shouted.

While China may still see Taiwan as a part of its territory, even though the two nations split in 1949 and are governed separately, there are many in Taiwan who have made their displeasure with Beijing evident in the past.

Families brought their young children to the event, but the majority of protesters were older residents, with some pro-independence church groups also joining the rally.

"Only through holding a referendum can Taiwanese people show to the global community our right to build an independent new country", said Tsai Wen-li, 63, a retired postal worker who wore a T-shirt reading "Taiwan is my country".

"We need to take action, hold a referendum and declare independence", says another protester, Hung Chen-jen, aged 16 years.

In 2008, Taiwan and China reached a "diplomatic truce", agreeing to stop using financial incentives to compete for recognition by each other's diplomatic partners, and from 2008 to 2016 China adhered to the pact and rejected attempts by countries to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the report said. She is an opponent of the policy of rapprochement with China, however, promised to provide the existing status quo between the two sides of the Strait and not give a reason for provoking Beijing.

This has not prevented the relations become frosty since his arrival in power. Ms. Tsai declines to endorse the line of Beijing, that Taiwan is part of "a single China".

In an October 10 National Day address, Tsai called on China not to be a "source of conflict" and pledged to boost Taiwan's defenses against Beijing's military threats.

To hold a public vote on independence, it would be necessary to amend the law that prohibits referenda on constitutional change and sovereignty.

Many pro-independence supporters had been highly critical of Tsai and the DPP for failing to uphold its pro-independence platform, he said.

Observers said the protesters' demands would put Tsai and her government in a hard position as it would be highly risky for her to allow such a vote after Beijing had repeatedly said it would send a military force to block any formal attempts at independence.

"The PDP has forbidden his officials and candidates to participate in the event, organising its own protest against the" annexation" of Taiwan by China in its stronghold of Kaohsiung (south), without calling for a vote on independence.

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