Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Showdown in Taipei - Arresting President Chen

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Wednesday 24.Oct.2007 is the showdown in Taipei, when President Chen Shui Bian challenged Mayor Hao Long Bin to arrest him for the illegal activity of torch relay without proper application for permit to use the capital city's roads.

Mayor from KMT party insist that an application to use the city's road for this major high profile political activity is necessary or otherwise it is deemed as illegal. The ruling DPP party's premier Xie Zhi Wei however insisted NOT to file any application for such a permit. The arguments for the legality went out fiercely in the parliament between the ruling and opposition parties legislators.

President Chen is leading the torch relay by running the 1st lap from his Presidential Palace for the official start of relay around entire Taiwan. He said he failed to see why this is illegal and insist to carry out his plan. He dared Mayor Hao Long Bin to arrest him for it.

Xie Chang Ting the presidential candidate of DPP who had recently injured his leg deliberately declared his participation despite his injured leg, stating that otherwise he would been seen as withdrawing from the activity and deemed by voters as a coward.

The is the national government challenging the municipal city government's authority and enforcement rights, it is a showdown before 2008 presidential election.

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Chen to Mayor Hau: Just you arrest me

PERMIT PAINS: The DPP is accusing the Taipei mayor of double standards over the city's refusal to grant it a permit for its torch relay while allowing the KMT to go ahead
By Mo Yan-chih
Sunday, Oct 21, 2007, Page 1

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday dared the Taipei mayor to arrest him over his government's plan to hold a torch relay to promote its UN membership bid, which the city administration insists is illegal.

"The torch relay from Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 is absolutely legal and I will be the first to carry the torch," Chen said. "If the Taipei City Government thinks the event is illegal, it can go ahead and arrest me."

His comment came after Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member, said the organizer of the event had not applied for use of the roads and traffic control by the city administration and that as such the gathering would be considered illegal.

The Sports Affairs Council, the organizer of the event, has sent a letter to the city government informing it of the torch relay. In the letter, it also invited Hau to participate in the event.

The event is scheduled to start on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office on Wednesday, to coincide with UN Day, in commemoration of the entry into force of the UN Charter on that date in 1945.

The relay is scheduled to end at the same location on Nov. 3, after the torch has passed through 25 cities and counties.

The city government has criticized the council for failing to apply for permits for the event, saying the relay would be in violation of the Regulations Governing Road Traffic Safety (道路安全處罰條例) and the Parade and Assembly Law (集會遊行法).

The city government has pledged to clamp down on the event.

Hau said that rather than being a sports event, the torch relay was a political rally aimed at promoting Chen's UN membership bid.

Chen criticized Hau yesterday for what he said represented double standards.

He lashed out at Hau for allowing KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to hold a bicycle relay to promote his presidential campaign.

Chen vowed to stage the event and urged all citizens to join him.

At a separate setting yesterday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City caucus slammed Hau for allowing the KMT's cycling event promoting its UN referendum bid also to be held on Wednesday.

The KMT's Taipei branch failed to apply for a permit before the deadline, but the city government granted it an extension so that it could complete the procedure, the caucus said.

"Hau insists on enforcing the law on the government's sports event, but indulged the KMT in holding the activity illegally," DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) told a press conference yesterday at the city council.

"He owes Taipei residents an apology," Lee said.

While the city government claims the KMT has followed proper procedures to obtain its permit, the DPP caucus said the KMT had failed to complete its application by Tuesday, as required by regulations. The DPP requested that Hau make the application public.

"The KMT violated regulations by failing to meet the deadline, but the city government has defended the event nonetheless," DPP Taipei City Councilor Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) said.

Citing Taipei City assembly regulations, Lee and Liu said the KMT organizers should have applied for a permit with the city's New Construction Office at least eight days prior to the event.

Showing a copy of a document obtained from the office, the DPP said the KMT had not submitted all the paperwork until Wednesday.

In addition, the organizers should have made a NT$30,000 deposit for holding the event by Oct. 12, but failed to do so until Tuesday, Liu and Lee said.

In response, KMT Taipei branch chief Pan Chia-sen (潘家森) said that the branch had followed legal procedures in filing its application and that the city government had already approved the event.

Commenting on the matter, Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday that Hau's intransigence on the torch relay revealed his "pettiness and lack of vision."

Shieh reminded Hau that most cities and counties governed by the DPP had not required that Ma apply for prior approval when he embarked on a round-the-nation bicycle tour in May to drum up support for his electoral campaign.

"Most of the DPP-controlled local governments regarded Ma's cycling tour as a sports event and exempted him from the permit requirement," Shieh said.

He said that the governments had even provided assistance with traffic control along the roads that the KMT presidential candidate had ridden on.

Comparing the manner in which those cities treated Ma with the Taipei City Government's refusal to offer assistance with traffic control on the grounds that the torch relay was illegal really shows "who is being petty," Shieh said.
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