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Beijing voices concern over unrest in Taiwan
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-27 00:13

The mainland side will not look on indifferently if the current situation in Taiwan worsens and spirals out of control, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said Friday.

The strong-worded statement came as thousands of angry Taiwanese protesters besieged the headquarters of the election commission of Taiwan and scuffled with police repeatedly on Friday afternoon.

Some protesters stormed into the headquarters to prevent the election commission from posting a notice on a bulletin board at the headquarters declaring the winner of the disputed March 20 election in the Taiwan region.

Chen Shui-bian reportedly won only 29,000 more votes than the opposition coalition, while rejected votes reached 330,000 in total. Opposition leaders have said the election is unfair due to voting irregularities and the circumstances surrounding a shooting incident on March 19, in which Chen and his running mate were wounded. They also demanded a recount of the vote and that election results be nullified.

The commission managed to post the notice at 7:40 pm on Friday with the help of police.

"Taiwan compatriots are as close to us as flesh and blood," said the unnamed spokesman. "We will not sit back and look on unconcerned should the post-election situation in Taiwan get out of control, leading to social turmoil, endangering the lives and property of Taiwan compatriots and affecting stability across the Taiwan Straits."

"We have noticed that the electoral institution of the Taiwan region has announced the (March 20) election results in disregard of strong opposition from one competing side," the spokesman said.

He went on to add that the Office has taken note that the coalition opponents do not recognize the legitimacy of the current results, and that Beijing would be closely following developments in the matter..

The Kuomintang (KMT) Party, the main opposition side in the election, is reportedly scheduled to hold a large rally in protest in Taipei on Saturday.

Taiwan media reports said that KMT Party Leader Lien Chan can still challenge the election although the results have become official. Under the law, Lien must file his petition to render the polling invalid within 30 days of the certification of the election results.

Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV said that lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties Friday failed to reach an agreement on legislation to revise the election law to allow for a recount that could end the election controversy.

Chen had proposed breaking the stalemate by amending the election law retroactively to make a recount automatic whenever a candidate wins by less than 1 per cent of the votes, as Chen did last Saturday.

In a related development, Taiwan police have for the first time released a picture of a possible shooting suspect Friday, according to media sources in Taiwan.

The agency said the grainy security camera image showed a balding man in a yellow jacket hurrying away from the shooting in the southern city of Tainan.

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