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Secessionists Draw Fire for '2/28' Stance
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Beijing yesterday blasted efforts by secessionist groups in Taiwan to identify the island's "2/28" conflict in 1947 as the start of the Taiwan "independence" movement.

"We have always considered the incident a large-scale patriotic movement that fought against the imposition of the Kuomintang (KMT) dictatorship at the time, and part of the liberation cause of the Chinese people as a whole," Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press briefing in Beijing.

He made the remarks on the 60th anniversary of the incident. On February 28, 1947, KMT soldiers beat a local woman for selling contraband cigarettes near the Taipei rail station, sparking a bloody confrontation between enraged members of the public and soldiers.

The event soon escalated into an island-wide movement against the KMT, who had taken back the island from the Japanese.

The secessionist forces on the island have been exploiting the anniversary of the "2/28 incident" to help their push for the island's "independence".

"The pro-independence forces have twisted history in order to incite conflict among people of different origins and to achieve social segregation," Li said.

Li also confirmed that the Communist Party of China (CPC) would continue communicating with the KMT, the opposition party in Taiwan, this year.

Li did not reveal when any meetings were due to take place, but added that the two sides would negotiate the details.

The CPC and the KMT held two forums last year following the ice-breaking journey of former KMT chairman Lien Chan in 2005.

The first forum, which took place last April, focussed on cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation, while the meeting in October focussed on agriculture.

"The forums have had a great impact on promoting cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations," Li said.

The spokesman also said the issue of whether or not the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay would include Taiwan would be decided next month, Li said.

"The question concerning whether the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay covers Taiwan or not will be answered in April, when the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games unveils the relay map," Li said.

The release of the relay schedule, which must be approved by the International Olympic Committee, was initially expected last year.

(China Daily March 1, 2007)

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