TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is planning to hold a march against annexation of Taiwan by China in Kaohsiung this Saturday, the same day the pro-independence political group Formosa Alliance (喜樂島聯盟) plans an anti-annexation rally in Taipei.
As the Formosa Alliance plans to hold what it calls a "mass rally" on Beiping East Road in Taipei this Saturday titled "All People Against Annexation Referendum March" (全民公投反併吞大遊行), the DPP has banned public officials from attending the event and is instead planning to hold an anti-annexation march on the same day in Kaohsiung. The DPP changed the name of its rally in Kaohsiung from "Anti-annexation, Referendum" (反併吞, 公投) to "Anti-annexation, Protect Taiwan"(反併吞、護台灣) in order to distance itself from Formosa Alliance's proposed "Independence Referendum" (獨立公投).
DPP Electoral Strategy Committee co-convener Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said yesterday that though his party supports the anti-annexation march in Taipei, there were concerns that if party candidates running for contests in November flocked to Taipei for the march, it would detract from their election campaign efforts, and thus they decided to discourage attendance of the event by party members, reported Storm Media. Nevertheless, Chen emphasized that the DPP's march in Kaohsiung should draw about 10,000 participants and will help serve in echoing the sentiments of the Taipei march.
Chen said that the DPP Central Standing Committee held a meeting on Oct. 3 to determine whether party members should participate in the anti-annexation rally in Taipei, but because there was a difference of opinion on attending the rally among concerns that party members may face criticism for either participating or not, the committee decided it was better to show party unity by asking all DPP members to avoid the Taipei march, according to the report. Chen said that Kaohsiung march will be held in coordination with pro-independence groups in solidarity with the rally in Taipei.
Chen stressed that the DPP is not opposed to the anti-annexation theme of the Taipei march, however he said it is clear to all that the referendum the Formosa Alliance is advocating is about revising the constitution to allow for a public referendum on independence from China. Chen said that the DPP's position has not changed, "I hope it's not about whether we went or didn't go, I don't want to be labeled," according to the Storm Media report.
When meeting with pro-independence group leaders, Chen said they understood the DPP's attitude that "basically, there is no violation of the main objective of Taiwan, which the DPP has long pursued," stated the report. Chen then said that the DPP has no intention of opposing the anti-annexation theme of the rally.