Taiwanese march against president
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Taipei
Thousands of opposition supporters have taken to the streets in Taiwan to protest against President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of engagement with China.
Nationalist critics argue the policies threaten to undermine the island's self-rule.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen led marching protesters to the president's office in Taipei.
The demonstration came ahead of the first anniversary on Wednesday of the president's coming to power.
He has also said he will abandon his predecessor's anti-Chinese policies, a position which the opposition says weakens Taiwan's sovereignty.
After Sunday's march, participants were expected to hold a sit-in protest for another 24 hours to mark their opposition to government policies.
Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which split from the mainland at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Relations between the two have improved since Mr Ma's election last year.
Location: one large and several smaller islands about 100 mi. (160 km) off SE coast of mainland China. Taipei 25°03′N, 121°30′E.
Boundaries: East China Sea to N, Pacific Ocean to E, Bashi Channel to S, and Formosa Strait to W; separated from mainland by Formosa Strait.
Total area: 13,892 sq. mi. (35,980 sq km).
Coastline: 900 mi. (1,448 km).
Comparative area: slightly smaller than Maryland.
Land use: 24% arable land; 1% permanent crops;75% other.
Major cities: (1992 est.) Taipei (capital) 2,696,073; Kaohsiung 1,405,909; Taichung 794,960; Tainan 694,630; Panchiao 543,982.
Population: 22,603,001 (2003 est.).
Nationality: noun—Chinese (sing., pl.); adjective—Chinese.
Ethnic groups: 84% Taiwanese, 14% mainland Chinese, 2% aborigine.
Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official); Taiwanese and Hakka dialects also used.
Religions: 93% mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist; 4.5% Christian, 2.5% other.
Type: multi-party democratic regime headed by popularly elected president.
Constitution: Jan. 1, 1947, amended 1992, 1994, and 1997.
National holiday: National Day, Oct. 10.
Heads of Government: Chen Shui-bian, president (since March 2000); Chang Chunsiung, premier (since Oct. 2000).
Structure: executive—president appoints premier; two-chamber legislature—Legislative Yuan, National Assembly; judiciary—Judicial Yuan.
Monetary unit: New Taiwan dollar.
Budget: (2002 est.)
income: $36 bil.;
expend.: $36 bil.
GDP: $406 bil., $18,000 per capita (2002 est.).
Chief crops: rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish.
Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos.
Major industries: electronics, petroleum refining, textiles, clothing, chemicals.
Labor force: 10 mil. (2002 est.); 35% industry and commerce, 58% services, 7% agriculture.
Exports: $130 bil. (f.o.b., 2002); 54% electrical equipment and machinery, metals, textiles, plastics, chemicals, electronic products.
Imports: $113 bil. (c.i.f., 2002); 44.5% machinery and electrical equipment, electronic products, minerals, precision instruments.
Major trading partners: (2000)
exports: 23% U.S., 22% Hong Kong,10% Japan;
imports: 24% Japan, 16% U.S., 13% Europe.
Meaning #1: the act of making less strict
Synonyms: liberalisation, relaxation