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Thousands demonstrate to demand referendum on Taiwan independence

Thousands of Taiwan independence campaigners rallied in Taipei on Saturday demanding President Tsai Ing-wen allow a referendum to decide whether the self-ruled island should break from mainland China. (Photo courtesy: SCMP)
Thousands of Taiwan independence campaigners rallied in Taipei on Saturday demanding President Tsai Ing-wen allow a referendum to decide whether the self-ruled island should break from mainland China. (Photo courtesy: SCMP)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct21, 2018) – Several thousand people demonstrated in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Oct 20, calling on the island nation whose territory is claimed by China to hold a referendum on whether it should formally declare independence, reported usnews.com Oct 20. China has long made it clear that any such move would invite military invasion from it.

The rally, which also protested against Beijing’s “bullying”, was organized by a group called Formosa Alliance, founded six months ago.

The protesters gathered near the headquarters of President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which is widely seen as being also pro-independence. Unlike the rival Kuomintang nationalist party, which is pro-reunification but only with a democratic China, President Tsai, who took office in 2016, has refused to endorse Beijing’s ‘one China’ policy, which has greatly contributed to worsening of cross-strait relations.

Kenny Chung, a spokesman for Formosa Alliance, has described the turnout at the ray as “very successful”.

This year saw China increase its military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, conducting air and sea military exercises around the self-governing island and winning over three of the few governments still recognizing Taipei by getting them to switch their diplomatic ties in its favour.

Protesters were reported to want Tsai’s government to push back against Beijing while advocating a referendum on independence to avoid being “swallowed up” by China. Some were reported to have carried placards bearing the message: “No more bullying; no more annexation”.

Tsai has said last week that she will maintain the status quo with Beijing while vowing to boost Taiwan’s national security and not to submit to Chinese suppression.

Next month, Taiwan will hold a referendum to decide whether it should enter future Olympics events as “Taiwan” rather than as “Chinese Taipei”, the name agreed under a compromise struck in the late 1970s. China is angered by this move.

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