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Former vice president goes on hunger strike (update)

Former vice president goes on hunger strike (update)

Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) Former Vice President Annette Lu began a hunger strike Sunday against the continued imprisonment of former President Chen Shui-bian, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for corruption. Lu said at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in downtown Taipei that she will fast until the ailing Chen is released from prison. Lu was Chen's running mate in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, which they won on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket. Explaining her protest decision at this time, a tearful Lu recalled her first hunger strike 33 years ago as a prisoner of conscience, seeking a chance to see her dying mother. "My ailing mother died and the then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) authorities would not even allow me to attend her funeral," Lu told a gathering of supporters that included Chen's son, sisters and other DDP politicians. "I never imagined that 33 years later, I would still have to risk my health and my life to secure the health and freedom of my former boss," Lu said. As 33 years ago, her hunger strike protest is against the KMT government, but she also berated the DPP, suggesting that it was impotent. "If you can't even save someone who had led your party to power, who'd believe that you can save Taiwan and its 23 million people?" Lu said. Chen Chih-chung, son of the former president, cited his father as saying recently that Lu should not resort to a hunger strike to push for his release from prison. "The Chen family's biggest wish at the moment is to get our father home, where he can receive medical attention, no matter what legal process he has to go through," said Chen Chih-chung. An ad hoc medical assessment team, including members recommended by the Chens, has met twice at Taichung Prison, where the former president is incarcerated, and is scheduled to hold a third meeting Monday to discuss possible medical parole. Chen Chih-chung urged the Ministry of Justice to respect whatever recommendations the assessment team makes. "This is what society as a whole expects the government to do," he said. Some sectors of society have been calling for Chen Shui-bian to at least offer an apology and return his ill-gotten gains to the country before being granted medical parole. (By Sophia Yeh and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-05-11 19:29 GMT+08:00