TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) traveled up to Taipei from his home in Kaohsiung to attend a dinner event Friday despite a list of preconditions set by the authorities.
Chen was sentenced to 20 years in prison on several corruption charges but freed on medical parole in early 2015 on the condition he did not take part in politics or make public speeches anymore.
The Ketagalan Foundation (凱達格蘭基金會), which he founded during his presidency, invited him to its anniversary dinner, but just hours before the event, the Taichung Prison, where he served time, set conditions. They included a ban on Chen entering the venue, addressing the crowds, discussing politics in public and giving interviews to the media.
At a previous foundation dinner, he stayed inside another room at the same hotel where the event took place and met friends and sympathizers privately.
However, this time, Chen walked into the main banquet hall with the help of a cane and was seated at the table of honor next to Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), his vice president from 2000 to 2008, and in the company of prominent legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, former premiers and Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), reports said.
A five-minute prerecorded video message was displayed at the event in which Chen reportedly criticized the only other DPP candidate ever to have won a presidential election, incumbent Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The former president’s medical team described the fundraising dinner as beneficial to his health, which deteriorated sharply as he was detained after the end of his second and final term in office.