Taiwanese to rally over China law

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in rival political rallies across Taiwan.What is known as Super Sunday is the last chance for big weekend rallies before polls to elect a new president.

The events, organised by the two main political parties, are also aimed at expressing public opposition to China’s anti-secession law.

Passed three years ago, it legalises the use of force against Taiwan if the island formally declares independence.

China regards the island as part of its territory.

Government officials have warned that the violent events in the past few days in Tibet have implications for Taiwan – showing Beijing would not give up the use of force against the island to resolve disputes.

The events mark a big push by both political parties to rally their supporters and woo the undecided ahead of next week’s presidential election.

The rallies are taking place at roughly the same time across the island.

In its carefully choreographed event, the governing Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, is hoping to mobilise more than a million supporters, asking them to gather at designated points so that they form two separate lines along the island’s east and west coast.

At 1514 local time – symbolising the date, 14 March, when China passed its anti-secession law – they will begin walking.

They will move in an anticlockwise direction, highlighting the party’s campaign slogan Reverse the Tide – to turn back their political fortunes and that of their candidate, who has been trailing in opinion polls.

For its part, the opposition KMT or Kuomintang, are also hoping to mobilise more than a million supporters, holding rallies in every city and county around the island.

One of the aims of their rally is also to show public opposition to China’s anti-secession law.

The threats posed by the law have taken on added significance in recent days, following the use of force by Chinese troops to quell protests in Tibet.

Both presidential candidates have condemned the violence.

And government officials here issued strong statements, warning that the events in Tibet showed that China would never give up the option of using force against Taiwan to resolve cross-strait disputes.