Thousands march for Hsieh's 'comeback'

DPP candidate urges voters not to support 'one-China market'

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh, right, hi-fives with supporters during an election rally in Taipei yesterday.

Kuomintang supporters shout slogans during a KMT election rally in Taipei yesterday.

Tens of thousands of Taiwan citizens of all ages marched across Taiwan yesterday in a drive to energize a drive for a "comeback victory" for Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) next week's presidential election.
The day's events began at 5 a.m. at Taimali township in Taitung County on Taiwan's east coast when Hsieh, his spouse You Fang-chih and over 2,000 supporters welcomed "Taiwan's First Light" at 6:04 a.m. and ended in the evening with a massive "Cherish Democracy, Protect Taiwan" rally reportedly drawing 100,000 supporters in Taichung City.
Thousands of supporters crowded into the grounds of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park well before the official assembly time of 2 p.m., largely youths wearing black and orange T-shirts with the Hsieh youth group's slogan of "Comeback for Victory" and waving black and yellow flags joined by other Hsieh backers waving the candidate's green blue "Taiwan Will Win" flags.
The black and yellow stage was flanked by posters with the rally's theme "three yeses and three noes" slogans, namely "yes to check and balance, no to one party dominance," "yes to entering the United Nations, no to Chinese hegemony," and "protect our ricebowls, no to the one-China market."
A prominent theme of the event was opposition to the proposal for a "cross-strait common market" with the People's Republic of China, which claims Taiwan as its territory.
Besides mock examples of defective Chinese products from milk to dumplings, the scene features a eight-meter tall black "Trojan Horse," referring to the name of the KMT candidate, labelled "one-China market."
Just as metal band Chthonic lead singer and Hsieh youth organizer Freddy Lin was finishing a rendition of the "Comeback" theme song, Hsieh arrived at 2:40 p.m. to cheers and shouts of "Taiwan Go Go" and "Hsieh Chang-ting, Win the Election!"
The DPP candidate stated from the top of a converted truck that "on March 22 we will be able to hear the beautiful words, 'Hello, President Hsieh!'"
Hsieh reaffirmed his commitment to protect Taiwan's national security, dignity and the interests of its people and declared that, if elected, he will not strive for fame or power but will work to realize his "great mission" to become "Taiwan's defender."
The DPP candidate has trailed his KMT rival in all opinion polls since the KMT captured absolute control over the Legislative Yuan in the January 12 legislative polls.
Hsieh stated that the rally was scheduled yesterday to mark the third anniversary of the enactment by the PRC's National People's Congress of an "Anti-Secession" Law which gives the Beijing regime the legal grounding to use "non-peaceful means" or force against Taiwan to affect "unification."
Hsieh also called on the KMT candidate to abandon his "cross-strait common market" proposal if he had any concern for the future economic prospects of Taiwan's youth.
The DPP candidate also said that Taiwan should retain "a voice for grassroots Taiwan-centric voices to be heard."
Hsieh challenged Ma, who published a newspaper advertisement Friday declaring that "the Taiwan people themselves should decide the future of Taiwan," to explain why he declared on another instance outside Taiwan that he believed that "the future of Taiwan should be determined together by the people across both sides of the Taiwan Strait."
"How could the people from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait decide Taiwan's future with China's population of 1.3 billion compared to Taiwan's 23 million?" Hsieh asked.
"If Taiwan's future was decided by the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the fate of today's Tibet will be the fate of Taiwan in the future," warned Hsieh, who called on his supporters to "prevent Ma from advocating such ridiculous ideas."
At 3:14 p.m., a time chosen to symbolize the March 14, 2005 enactment of an anti-secession law directed against Taiwan by the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, all participants were asked to reverse their hats and begin their march.
Participants reversed their caps, flashed thumbs-up signs for the DPP ticket of former premier Frank Hsieh and his running mate former Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), and gave each other "high fives."
The Hsieh campaign had hoped that one million people would participate in the events, which included over 200 assembly points from which supporters were to gather and, after reversing their hats in a traditional baseball gesture to show resolution for a "comeback," march several kilometers to the next assembly point.
An organizer told the Taiwan News that the target was surpassed, saying that "the number of people who participated in the events in Taipei and Kaohsiung and Taichung far exceeded our expectations."
In Taipei City, marchers filled Renai Boulevard and other streets as other Hsieh supporters gave marchers "high fives."
Activists also raised placards calling for "Free Tibet" and "Say No to Beijing 2008 Olympics."