Shih Drive continues, DPP responds
General Allenby: What about your Arab friends? What about them?
T.E. Lawrence: I have no Arab friends. I don't want Arab friends !
General Allenby: What in Hell do you want, Lawrence?
T.E. Lawrence: I told you! I just want my ration of common humanity.
Quite a lot going on with the Shih Ming-te's "protest" against Chen Shui-bian...but as Shih himself said the other day, with his usual flair for the dramatic, either Chen will go down, or he will.
And Chen ain't gonna go down.
The sad thing is that this affair can only end one way, with the very public demolition of an icon of the democratic movement. Shih's friends within the DPP know everything about him -- and who does not have a skeleton in the closet? -- and they aren't hesitating to use it against him. Shih will, in the end, lose, and find himself the subject of pointed questions regarding that money. It won't be pretty. Shih may protest, and the DPP may fire back, but the only thing I hear is the laughter of Mordor as old friends tear themselves apart publicly....
Perhaps the most moving document this week came from Shih's old supporters at the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), Gerritt Van Der Wees and Chen Mei-chin. They wrote in the Taipei Times:
We are writing this as friends who -- when Shih was arrested in those dark days of January 1980, following the Dec. 10, 1979, Kaohsiung Incident -- worked day and night for his release from prison.
In 1985 and in 1986, when Shih was on hunger strike in prison, we wrote articles and letters calling on the international community to put pressure on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authorities to release him. These articles can be found on our Taiwan Communique Web site at www.taiwandc.org/twcom/tc21-int.pdf and www.taiwandc.org/twcom/tc26-int.pdf.
We are writing to remind Shih of the ideals he expressed at that time. In his 1985 statement, Shih wrote: "With mounting and maturing years, knowledge, experience and powers of judgment, I have come to know that injustice and inequality among the human family is not limited to Taiwan alone."
"Everyone must hold fast to this with unshaken conviction, even more with patience. Simply because we are confident of the supremacy and sacredness of our ideal, under no circumstance does this warrant our failure to carefully choose the methods used in its attainment. Foul means are still foul, and the sacredness of the purpose can in no way render them fair," he wrote.
We want to remind Shih that Taiwanese people have no other "motherland" than Taiwan.
Has Shih forgotten these truths? Perhaps he has only misplaced them, as one of my favorite movies puts it...
Meanwhile the DPP is gunning for Shih and make no mistake, eventually they will get him. I blogged earlier this week on the DPP's attempts to pin Shin to the hide of Chen Yu-hao, the fugitive tycoon who hates Chen Shui-bian (Is Shih Linked to Fugitive Tycoon?). Shih has shown everyone the pictures of them in Thailand together, which has also fueled speculation that Shih has linked himself to China, Thailand being one of the places where KMT reps have gone to have secret meetings with officials from China. No evidence supports that latter charge. Fortunately for Shih the move misfired today:
Showing two color photo copies of what Wang said was Shih's condominium in the "Yen Jiu Yuan" (
研究苑) apartment complex on Tongshih Road in Nangang, Taipei City, Wang said that the NT$34 million apartment was about 170 pings, with a market value of NT$200,000 per ping.
The media swarmed over to the apartment, but quickly learned that Shih did not even live in the building complex.
When confronted by reporters, Wang refused to admit that he had been mistaken, saying only that he had deliberately showed the "wrong pictures" of Shih's apartment complex, claiming he wanted to "leave some leeway" for Shih.
One thing about accusations in Taiwan, they needn't come attached with evidence. Fortunately for the DPP, Shih's spokesman refuted the claims thusly:
A spokeswoman for Shih's campaign, Ho De-fen (賀德芬), said that because Shih was not a government official, it did not matter who had provided him with a condominium.
I love those denials that sound a lot like affirmations -- "he didn't buy it from Chen Yu-hao, and anyway, it doesn't matter if he did." Well, Ma'am, if your client is running an anti-corruption campaign, and lives in a house provided to him by an embezzler, well, yes, it does matter. I think a simple denial would have been more effective.
One of Shih's wives raced up to Taipei this week to stop the DPP from making public a letter that Shih wrote to Chiang Kai-shek begging forgiveness while in prison.
Despite her disapproval of her ex-husband's campaign against Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Shih's former wife Chen Li-chu (陳麗珠) showed up at the Legislative Yuan compound yesterday morning before DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶) was scheduled to hold a press conference to reveal the letter.
Lin was forced to scrap his announcement and let Chen Li-chu tell her tale.
"I'm the owner of the letter, so I should be the one to tell the public what really happened," she said.
"I've put up with him [Shih] for over 40 years and have never done anything to hurt him. I don't understand why he is so cruel to me. I really don't," Chen Li-chu said.
She threatened to expose what she claimed were "immoral" incidents and "incest" in Shih's family if he and his family continued to provoke her by calling her a "whore" and denying the authenticity of the letter to Chiang. She did not elaborate.
The tearful 60-something Chen Li-chu said that she had taken the train from Kaohsiung to Taipei on Monday night, hoping to stop Lin before he revealed the contents of the letter.
I quite agree. People will do anything while in prison under torture and facing the threat of madness and death. Those letters should be placed in their proper historical context, in a biography of Shih.
Of course, the lighter side of things has come out too...a member of the DPP has launched a comical ant-anti-Chen campaign.
A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician in Kaohsiung has announced a mocking riposte aimed at efforts to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Hung Ping-lang (
洪平朗), who is running for Kaohsiung City councilor, called on the public yesterday to donate NT$1 each to express their support for his "Anti-Anti-Chen Campaign."
One of the Chinese papers suggested that everyone put in a dollar into the Shih campaign, then go to the protest and eat the lunchbox after showing their receipt for the donation. Shih would lose millions that way.
Just sit tight. Shih's protest campaign is a bit of political theatre only. It has the look and feel of a landslide, but I suspect that like all landslides, it will peter out when it hits the bottom of the slope, leaving behind a trail of wrecked lives and a whole lot of mud to clean up.
Taiwan, KMT, DPP, Shih Ming-deh/Shih Ming-te, Chen Shui-bian