Taipei City warns Chen not to violate law

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Chen Shui-bian shouldn’t try to violate the law, a Taipei city government spokesman warned yesterday. Commenting on Chen’s defiance of the city ordinance against unpermitted rallies, Yang Hsiao-tung, the spokesman for the municipal government, reiterated Chen cannot run in the first leg of a torch relay marathon in support of a referendum on Taiwan’s admission to the United Nations as Taiwan. “The law says the organizers have to apply for permission,” Yang said. “Runners are running in violation of that law,” he added, “if no permission for the marathon relay of the torch is given.” No applications have been filed by the National Council for Physical Fitness and Sports, that organizes the marathon rally, scheduled to start Wednesday morning. “We hope the president wouldn’t take the lead to violate the law,” Yang stressed. Taipei police, Yang added, are prepared for “protecting the right (of way) of our citizens.” They will be robbed of their right of way if a marathon race, which the municipal authorities considered “a political rally,” takes place without due permission. Police give permission after they study the routes to find out if normal traffic would be seriously obstructed. The marathon isn’t a political rally, said Shieh Jhy-wei, director-general of the Government Information Office.

“It’s a sports activity,” Shieh claimed. He charged the Kuomintang with continuing to try to “pull Taiwan’s leg” by opposing the torch relay. “Let them (the Kuomintang) try,” he dared.