09/05/2011, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Thousands of activists want to “dump Ma” to preserve Taiwan’s autonomy

Presidential elections are scheduled for next January. The DPP is running Tsai Ing-wen, the first woman presidential candidate, against outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang. Surveys indicate the two are tied in popular support.
Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least a thousand activists demonstrated yesterday in Taipei, accusing President Ma Ying-jeou of selling Taiwan’s sovereignty to Beijing. “Dump Ma to safeguard Taiwan!” the crowd chanted while marching through the capital.

The rally, which comes four months ahead of the next presidential election, marks the unofficial start of the election campaign of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has often toyed with the idea of independence.

Since 1949, Taiwan has been the formal home of the Republic of China, which is autonomous and rich, but treated as a rebel province by the mainland, which has never given up the right to bring it back into the fold of the People’s Republic of China, by force if necessary.

In the past few years, President Ma’s Kuomintang (KMT) party has pursued a policy of rapprochement with the mainland, improving communications and easing restrictions on investments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

For its part, the DPP has accused the ruling KMT of selling Taiwan’s sovereignty in exchange of economic advantages that benefit the island’s rich.

Ma Ying-jeou, who is running for re-election, will challenge the DPP president, Tsai Ing-wen, the first woman to run for the country’s highest office.

Surveys indicate that the two leading candidates are neck and neck among voters.
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