Anti-Chen Campaign Wraps Up Its Accounts
Taiwan News reports that the Shih Campaign has made its $NT100 million goal, and is shutting down its accounts in preparation for beginning the sit-in in front of the Presidential Palace:
Now that he has received the support from one million citizens and more than NT$100 million in public donations, former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) has begun preparing for his sit-in seeking President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) ouster.
Ho Teh-fen, a spokeswoman for the campaign, announced on Thursday that Shih's two bank accounts and one post office account opened to accept donations for the "One million people to depose the president" campaign were closed at midnight. As of Thursday afternoon, accumulated donations had come to NT$109,180,809, she said.
Shih, who served as DPP chairman from 1994-1996 before leaving the party in 2000, called for people to donate NT$100 each to support his sit-in protest in front of the Presidential Office to pressure Chen to resign over a series of corruption and embezzlement allegations implicating the president, his family members, and senior aides, according to Shih.
Ho said the sit-in will probably start September 1 or September 2, prior to Chen's scheduled departure for a state visit to Palau on September 3. It may also begin on either September 8 or September 9, after President Chen returns from the visit.
The article also featured quotes from Chen Chu, Shih's comrade in arms from the revolutionary days, asking the DPP to refrain from attacks on Shih, not only a smart political move, but also something that must be tearing apart a great many people. Politics may be local, but it is also personal:
Chen Chu (陳菊), who is running in the year-end Kaohsiung mayoral election under the DPP banner, expressed her disapproval of Shih's campaign. She reminded Shih that "there are only people, and no single hero," referring to what she called the media's attempts to "paint a heroic image" of Shih.
Chen said that the president was elected by the people through a democratic process and that if the people want the president to step down, there are constitutional methods such as initiating a motion to recall or impeach the president.
Chen said that despite her disagreement with Shih's advocacy and conduct, she respects his right to do so and objects to the recent personal attacks made on him by some DPP members.
She said the DPP should tolerate the Shih-led sit-in protest for as long as it lasts and should stop DPP politicians from leading an opposing group of people to the scene to counter Shih's action.
Stressing that the people have the right to express their anger at the government, Chen called on the DPP to conduct a sincere self-examination and squarely face the people's anger.
She urged the DPP to stop its politicians from resorting to "mud slinging and provocative actions" that might lead to violence, and to allow the matter to conclude peacefully.
Chen Chu was one of the members of the Kaohsiung 8, along with Shih Ming-te.
Where is this campaign going to go? Chen isn't going to resign, so if the DPP remains patient, prevents the outbreak of violence -- a distinct possibility given the KMT's longstanding use of organized crime to instigate violence at political protests -- and says nothing stupid -- someone needs to talk to Chen Shui-bian about his penchant for wisecracks -- this can only end with Shih a failure, provoking general public disgust with him, and the money disappearing in ways that suggest corruption. Major Blue leaders Ma Ying-jeou and James Soong have kept their distance -- Soong's distance is especially suggestive, given his well-developed political antennae.
Another potential victim is mayor Ma Ying-jeou, also Chairman of the KMT. Any violence that breaks out will reflect negatively on his administration. One might think this would restrain the Blues, but James Soong, the Chairman of the PFP, has been toying with the idea of a run for mayor. A canny supporter might conclude that violence at a political demonstration is just the ticket to give the KMT a black eye -- and some within the DPP might come to the same conclusion as well, since enhancing Soong's status splits the Blues and helps the DPP in the Taipei mayor election. Hence, in all this mess, the one beneficiary might well be James Soong, one of the people who helped put Shih in jail back in the 1980s, and conducted a propaganda campaign to blacken his name at home and abroad.
The gods love irony.
Taiwan, Democracy, DPP, James Soong, Ma Ying-jeou, Chen Shui-bian, Taipei, Shih Ming-deh/Shih Ming-te,