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Taiwan DPP Congress to tackle China and ex-President Chen

Taiwan DPP Congress to tackle China and ex-President Chen

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party was preparing for a Saturday congress where its China policies and the likely return of former President Chen Shui-bian would take center stage, reports said.
Since the formation of a China Affairs Committee earlier in the month, various party leaders have offered suggestions of how it should conduct relations with Taiwan’s communist rival.
Lawmakers were expected to submit separate suggestions for policy debates and for a resolution putting human rights at the center of the relationship.
Committee spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said the party was already planning to hold a series of nine discussions beginning June 20 at which committee members, advisers, lawmakers, mayors and county magistrates, civil organizations and Taiwanese business people working in China would participate.
New Taipei City DPP chief and prominent academic Lo Chih-cheng said the most important thing was that the meetings came up with concrete results and with a consensus which could be adopted as party policy. Because there were more than enough similar debates taking place in Taiwan, Lo wanted to know first what the link was between the discussions and the committee, and whether the conclusions would become official DPP policy.
Lawmaker Yao Wen-chih, a supporter of the human rights resolution, also emphasized that the result was more important than the process. The DPP needed to see its China policy evolve in a clear direction before the 2016 presidential election, he said.
The opposition party called on Beijing to stop setting up preconditions for bilateral exchanges, rejecting a statement by a top communist government official that the DPP first needed to drop its support for Taiwan Independence before it could expect direct contacts with China.
Another contentious issue facing the DPP was how to deal with former party chairman and ex-President Chen, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence on charges of corruption but wants to rejoin the party.
Chen left in 2008, months after finishing his eight years as head of state, but in the middle of scandals emerging around him, his relatives and his closest aides.
Former Foreign Minister and lawmaker Mark Chen Tan-sun, no relation of the ex-president, was still evaluating whether to propose a motion at the congress to restore his status as a DPP member.
On Wednesday, the party’s Central Standing Committee decided to ask legislative caucus senior whip Ker Chien-ming to provide the ex-president with a membership application form. He helped Chen to submit the filled-out document to the Taipei City DPP section, which will handle the application. The move basically took the issue away from the congress, reports said.
The ex-president’s fate was a political matter, lawmaker Chen said. Legislator Chiu Yi-ying said the former nation’s leader had become a victim of persecution, while lawmaker Lawrence Kao said his rejoining the DPP would make feel Chen better.
The former president was taken to hospital last September and diagnosed with a variety of ailments, including a severe depression and non-typical Parkinson’s Disease. He was transferred to the Pei Teh Hospital at the Taichung Prison last month despite a campaign for medical parole. The government insisted he did not qualify for the treatment.
While support for Chen’s return at the congress was expected to be strong, there have also been a few critical voices fearing the repercussions of the move on future election campaigns.
Former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang said that allowing Chen to rejoin the party would damage its chances in local elections expected in late 2014 and in the next presidential election in 2016.
The DPP Congress was also set to decide how to select its candidates for the 2014 elections for city mayors, county magistrates, township and village mayors and local council members. Despite proposals to let 30 percent of the result be determined by the votes of party members, the original reliance on opinion polls to select the candidates was expected to be kept in place, reports said.
An estimated 435 members were expected to turn out for Saturday’s congress, reports said.


Updated : 2021-08-05 20:33 GMT+08:00