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Referendum rally by separatists on island condemned
( 2003-10-27 07:07) (China Daily)

Saturday's rally held in the southern city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan that demanded the right to hold referendums was a separatist action manipulated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other separatist organizations, said a spokesman with State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office Sunday.

Led by Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu, both leaders of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party, the rally aimed to separate Taiwan from the motherland under the guise of promoting referendums and constitutional change, the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that Chen's move counteracted with his August 2000 statement which promised "four no's and one without'' -- no Taiwan independence, no changing the national name, no constitutional changes to promote the two-country theory, no independence-or-reunification referendum and without scrapping the reunification policy.

People from both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to the same country and China's sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be changed, he said.

"Taiwan independence activities have directly damaged basic interests of Taiwan people and are a disaster for Taiwan,'' he said.

Any activities to separate Taiwan from the motherland are doomed to fail, he said.

It was reported that more than 100,000 people attended the rally in Taiwan on Saturday to demand the right to hold referendums.

Chen, facing a tough presidential election in less than six months, with opinion polls showing his support rating trailing behind the opposition, has made the right to hold referendums and constitutional change key to his re-election campaign.

Analysts say he is trying to make the independence-or-reunification debate the central focus of the March 2004 polls.

Earlier on Saturday, a few thousand anti-independence activists, including veterans of the Chinese civil war, staged a protest outside the "presidential palace'' in Taipei.

Opinion polls show that the overwhelming majority of Taiwan's 23 million people prefer to maintain the present political status.

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