Saturday, March 26, 2005

Taiwanese Hold Major Protest Against China

By STEPHAN GRAUWELS, The Associated Press, Saturday, March 26, 2005; 7:00 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan - In one of the largest demonstrations in Taiwan's history, about a million people marched through the capital on Saturday to protest a new Chinese law that authorizes an attack on the island if it moves toward formal independence.

"Taiwan is only a small island, so we must speak out really loud to make the world hear that we are a democracy facing an evil giant," said Vivian Wang, a 38-year-old restaurant worker who traveled by bus from the southern city of Kaohsiung - about 190 miles away. Hundreds of thousands assembled at 10 different areas in Taipei, with each route representing one of the articles of the anti-secession law. The marchers converged on the wide boulevard in front of the Presidential Office building.

Beijing is worried that self-ruled Taiwan is drifting toward independence, and China's legislature recently passed a law codifying the use of military force against Taiwan if it seeks a permanent split. The island - just 100 miles off China's southern coast - has been resisting Beijing's rule since the Communists took over the mainland in 1949.----------------

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