Monday, March 28, 2005

Taiwan democracy rises above bickering

By Kathrin Hille in Taipei, Financial Times, March 27 2005

It was a good weekend for Liao Wen-yen. A massive protest in Taipei on Saturday against China's anti-secession law, which organisers said drew 1m people on to the streets, provided the garbage truck driver who collects banners and posters from demonstrations and election rallies with many new trophies.

Inflatable plastic clubs with “Peace” printed on them, a handmade cardboard sign bearing the warning “Chinese hooligans, watch out”, and a dirty paper slip with the words “Are Taiwanese really not Chinese? You better go and test your DNA” are now displayed in Mr Liao's crammed living room. They bear witness to the island's lively democracy.

After China's National People's Congress passed the anti-secession law two weeks ago, enshrining Beijing's claim of sovereignty and its threat of military force in the event of the island's formal independence, Taiwan's various political parties have shown little consensus about how they can respond.------------

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