Wu'er Kaixi to run in legislative by-election

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) Wu'er Kaixi, a former Chinese pro-democracy dissident, announced Monday that he intends to run in the legislative by-election in Taichung.
The by-election was made necessary after the legislative seat held by Lin Chia-lung was vacated. Lin announced his resignation last week just days before the Taichung mayoral election, which he won Saturday.
Wu'er Kaixi, 46, said at a news conference in Taichung that he was inspired by the victory of Ko Wen-je, who ran as an independent in the "pro-KMT" stronghold of Taipei and won over 57 percent of the vote, easily defeating Sean Lien of the Kuomintang (KMT).
He said he wanted to run because of the problems faced by Taiwan, which faces a severe challenge from China externally and incessant partisan bickering domestically,
He said he hoped to break the cycle of partisan strife and deepen democracy.
"I want to become a spokesman for the powerless and a trailblazer!" Wu'er Kaixi said, noting that he has stayed true to his ideals for over a decade.
The one-time dissident said he does not fear pressure and stays poised amid turmoil, traits that he said would make him a good lawmaker.
"I hope to become Legislator Wu'er Kaixi that Taichung people can be proud of," he said, adding that a great city like Taichung needs a great legislator.
On whether Taiwanese voters can accept him, Wu'er Kaixi said he has had a Taiwan ID card for 15 years and has never had doubts about being accepted.
In addition to being an exiled dissident who has been accepted by Taiwan, he is also the father of two children born in Taiwan and somebody who works and pays taxes here and has donated blood 50 times, he said.
"If you ask me if I'm Taiwanese, it's a question that makes me very sad," he said.
Wu'er Kaixi, one of the student leaders in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, later went into exile in the United States, where he met his Taiwanese wife, Chen Hui-ling, who was studying there.
He settled down in Taichung, and has worked as radio host and political commentator, and he is now in the IT and financial sectors.
In addition to Wu'er Kaixi, aspirants from both the pro-KMT and pro-DPP camps have expressed interest in running in the by-election, which is scheduled to be held after the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 19, 2015. (By Hau Hsueh-ching and Lilian Wu)