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KMT heavyweights absent from main National Day celebration event

10/10/2023 05:09 PM
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Former President Ma Ying-jeou (second row, left) and Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (second row, right) attended a celebratory event for the National Day of the Republic of China held at the KMT's headquarters in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo Oct. 10, 2023
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (second row, left) and Kuomintang presidential candidate Hou Yu-ih (second row, right) attended a celebratory event for the National Day of the Republic of China held at the KMT's headquarters in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo Oct. 10, 2023

Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) heavyweights, including former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), were absent from the main event hosted by the central government Tuesday to celebrate National Day.

Instead of joining the flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office together with leaders from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other opposition parties as is customary, senior KMT officials attended a celebratory event held at party headquarters.

During the ceremony, Ma criticized President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for calling the main event "Taiwan National Day" instead of "Republic of China (ROC) National Day," which is how the event had always been referred to other than the past three years.

"Taiwan is our home, there's no problem with that, but the ROC is the name of our country," Ma said in front of the KMT headquarters in Taipei, suggesting the move is tantamount to a plot to advocate for Taiwan independence.

Ma said it was the first time in 40 years he has not attended the flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office, as he refused to endorse such a "Taiwan independence" approach and the damage it causes to the country's security.

The DPP administration started to use "Taiwan National Day" as the English term for the event in 2021, with Ma protesting the language the following year. Meanwhile, the event is still officially referred to as "Republic of China (Taiwan) National Day" in Chinese.

The actual day of the event commemorates the 1911 Wuchang Uprising in China, which led to the overthrow of China's last imperial dynasty and the establishment of the ROC.

KMT heavyweights who took part in the event with Ma included party chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) and the party's presidential nominee and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜).

Meanwhile, KMT lawmaker Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟), New Power Party Chairwoman and Legislator Wang Wan-yu (王婉瑜), People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲)-- who is also running for president -- participated in the main flag-raising ceremony.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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