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Taiwan President Chen Speaks at Anti-China Rally


Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian briefly joined a massive rally Saturday in Taipei to protest China's threat to use force against the island if it formally declares independence.

Speaking to more than 100,000 protesters, Mr. Chen told the crowd that Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state. He said the island's future should not be decided by China.

Demonstrators chanted slogans such as "Loving Peace, Opposing Missiles," and "Oppose Annexation."

The rally comes amid this week's one-year anniversary of China's approval of an anti-secession law. The law says China will employ "non-peaceful means" to prevent Taiwan's independence if efforts at peaceful reunification fail.

Mr. Chen angered Beijing last month when he decided to stop funding a unification council and scrap guidelines for reunification with China.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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