Taiwan's leading opposition party plans huge rally

Taiwan's main opposition party said Sunday it would stage a huge demonstration against the government's economic record, vowing to draw a turnout of 100,000 people.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said members and supporters would take to Taipei's streets next Sunday in what could be one of the biggest protests to be orchestrated by the party in recent years.

""People can no longer tolerate the government's poor economic performance. We demand a dramatic cabinet reshuffle including Premier Sean Chen if the sluggish economy is to be revitalised," DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien told AFP.

The trade-dependent economy contracted in the second quarter of 2012 for the first time in nearly three years, while its exports shrank for six months in a row until swinging back into positive territory in September.

The government has forecast growth of 1.13 percent for 2012.

Lin said he expects strong public support for the rally, which would also call for reform of various pension schemes.

The China-sceptic opposition party also objects to controversial plans for expanded investment in local media by Taiwanese billionaire Tsai Eng-meng, who has substantial business interests in China.

Next Media, controlled by Hong Kong's vocal China critic Jimmy Lai, in November signed agreements with various buyers including Tsai to sell the Taiwan editions of Apple Daily and Next magazine as well as Taiwan Sharp Daily and Next TV.

Concerns have been raised that the deals could create a pro-China media monopoly.

Such issues are still sensitive in Taiwan more than six decades after it split from China following a civil war. Beijing views the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, through force if necessary.

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