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Mass Protest of Taiwan's China Policy

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Published on May 18, 2009

Tens of thousands took to the streets on Sunday to protest Taiwans improving ties with Communist China. This is the third such rally over the past year.
They marched in thousands along the streets of Taipei leading to the presidential office.

Some wore shirts that accused Taiwan President Ma Jing-yeou of "selling Taiwan" to China or portraying him as a devil.

Others waived Taiwan independence flags.

[Chen Ming-chu, Taiwan Demonstrator]:
"Everybody knows if the government does well or not, but they are selling off our sovereignty. In the past eight years we didn't have to worry about losing our sovereignty but now it becomes our greatest fear. Economy is a global problem so we can forgive the government, but selling off our sovereignty we will never forgive."

China has claimed self-ruled Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists (KMT) fled to Taiwan.

Beijing has vowed to bring the island under its rule, by force if necessary.

[Michael Chen, Washington, DC Resident]:
"The current government's policy, everything they don't ask the Taiwanese people's opinions. So they just decide what they wanted to do and basically their policy is biased to China. Like open the market, I don't know they asked Taiwanese people or not, my feeling is no."

Analysts say the peaceful demonstration, which was organized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, will not hurt Ma.

Ma hopes everyone will leave peacefully after the protest.

He claims that all of his talks with the mainland Chinese communist regime have been on an equal footing and that Taiwan is not losing sovereignty.

Some demonstrators accuse Ma of not being transparent about Taiwan's ties with Beijing.

Others say he has bungled the economy which slipped into recession in February, joining other export-driven Asian markets.

[Chen Shu-ching, Demonstrator]:
"For example ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement), nobody understands. They only talk about the benefits, but what about the downside? I don't know. Also the unemployed population, the young people who can't find jobs after graduation, this is a serious problem."

Similar mass demonstrations against Ma took place in August and October last year.

A smaller, more violent one coincided with a meeting in November between Ma and China's top negotiator.

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