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Thousands rally for Taiwan sovereignty

Last Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 21:40

Taipei: About 1,000 chanting
pro-independence activists took to the streets of Taipei
on Sunday, accusing Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of surrendering
the island`s sovereignty to China.

The rally, which comes four months ahead of the 2012
presidential election, was considered part of pro-independence
groups` efforts to help the leading anti-China opposition, the
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"Dump Ma to safeguard Taiwan!" the crowd chanted while
marching through the capital.

Pro-independence groups have accused Ma of
compromising Taiwan`s sovereignty in exchange for economic
benefits from Beijing, a claim which has been categorically
denied by Ma.

Taiwan`s economy last year expanded 10.88 per cent, a
24-year high, fuelled by rapid growth in China, the island`s
main trading partner, Ma has said.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly
since Ma came to power on a platform of beefing up trade links
and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

But Beijing still regards Taiwan part of its territory
awaiting to be reunified -- by force if necessary -- even
though the island has ruled itself since 1949, at the end of a
civil war.

Ma, who is seeking a second and last four-year term,
will take on DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, the island`s first
female presidential candidate, in January`s vote.

Recent polls indicate that Ma and Tsai enjoy similar
levels of public support.


First Published: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 21:40
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