Lee shuns Chen Shui-bian at Chorus of 10,000

The China Post staff

Thousands of Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan Solidarity Union supporters sang “we-love-Taiwan” songs yesterday in a Chorus of 10,000, where Lee Teng-hui shunned President Chen Shui-bian. Sponsored jointly by the February 28 Foundation and the Grand Alliance for the Protection of Taiwan, the brief songfest took place at the Presidential Plaza in honor of the victims of the bloody massacre following a spontaneously riot 60 years ago yesterday. Former President Lee Teng-hui, the spiritual leader of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, took part in the singing rally, where he called for “rectification of names” and a new constitution for Taiwan. So did President Chen. In particular, Lee said, he himself was a witness of the incident. “But,” he added, “I was not an oppressor. I was a spiritual victim.”

It was Lee who ended martial law and proclaimed February 28 Peace Memorial Day, a national holiday in honor of those who were killed in the incident. “As we mark the 60th anniversary of the incident today,” President Lee said, “we should take action. We should continue our rectification of names campaign and write a new constitution to make Taiwan a normal country.”

Lee addressed the rally and sang two numbers with the crowd earlier in the afternoon. He left the Presidential Plaza at 4:25 p.m. President Chen arrived at 5 p.m. The two presidents did not meet. Organizers hoped the two presidents would meet at the rally to show a unity of purpose to work for independence of Taiwan. The former president, who had fallen out with Chen, did not wait. All top leaders of the two parties attended the rally. But leaders of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, like their spiritual leader, refused to appear together with their Democratic Progressive Party opposite numbers. The ruling Democratic Progressive party set up desks at the Presidential Plaza to collect signatures of participants in the rally to endorse their demand that the Kuomintang return all ill-gotten assets to the government.