Yesterday's massive demonstration against the Kuomintang government of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the proposed visit by China's top cross-strait envoy expressed reflected the anxieties of a growing number of Taiwanese in the country's future, according to participants.
"Today I felt I had no choice but to march," NTU political science Professor Wu Rui-jen told The Taiwan News.
"In just five months, Ma has frightened many Taiwanese people of all social strata with his government's incompetent policies on education and the economy and more and more people fear that Ma will really sell out Taiwan's sovereignty," said Wu
"The people have been forced by Ma to come out onto the streets because they have no choice," said Wu, who was an outspoken critic of the former DPP president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
"Today's mobilization is really a show of ordinary 'people's power' that far exceeds the influence of the DPP itself," said the NTU professor, an outspoken critic of former DPP president Chen Shui-bian.
However, the NTU professor stated that "the size of this march proves that the KMT's effort to use the Chen Shui-bian case to divide the Taiwan people has failed."
"People are really angry over Ma's continual deception and lies over the past five months," said Taiwanese poet Lee Min-yung.
"Instead of peace and dignity, Ma is not only selling out Taiwan but giving Taiwan away; instead of faster economic growth, the economy is contracting and unemployment is rising and people are become really worried that Ma will not just sell out Taiwan but give it away," added Lee.
DPP Legislator Tian Chiu-chin said that the tourist buses that the DPP Yilan County branch had arranged were filled to overflowing and that the party branch had to arrange small buses and train transportation for supporters who wanted to participate in the rally.
'What has Taiwan gained?'
"Many people are worried that Taiwan is now becoming in a very dangerous situation as Ma is making all sorts of concessions on our sovereignty from diplomatic truce to recognizing Chinese diplomas and now allowing Chinese companies to bid for infrastructure projects, but what has Taiwan gained from these concessions?" asked Tien.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-hui, a former Mainland Affairs Council chairman under former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) led the "Oppose the Hollowing Out of Sovereignty" column that assembled at Lungshan Temple.
Huang told reporters that "Taiwan is now at a dangerous moment as Ma is self-denigrating Taiwan and turning Taiwan into part of China."
"Today all the people have come out to uphold Taiwan's sovereignty," said the TSU chairman.
"Whether the KMT government pays attention is hard to say, but I believe Beijing will take note of the size and force of this demonstration and seriously re-evaluate when or whether Chen Yunlin should come to Taiwan," said DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen.
DPP International Affairs Director Lin Cheng-wei, a former National Security Council (國家安全會議) councillor, told The Taiwan News that Beijing "will pay close attention to today's protest, but will respond coolly and may even use the protest to put more political pressure on Ma."
"China is likely to demand that Ma 'take care' of the DPP problem before allowing Chen Yunlin to come to Taiwan or may demand more political concessions from Ma, but if Ma bows to this pressure and takes action against the DPP, there will be an even greater counter-reaction from the Taiwan people," said Lin, who observed that "Ma is being squeezed on both sides."