By calling Shih Ming-teh the "Nelson Mandela of Taiwan" ("Shih launches anti-Chen campaign," Aug. 13, page 1), you downgrade Mandela and insult the intelligence of the Taiwanese people.
Mandela was the first South African president to be elected in fully representative democratic elections. Before his term in office, he was a prominent anti-apartheid activist and was imprisoned for 27 years.
Mandela became the most widely known figure in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. After receiving more than 100 awards throughout the world over four decades, Mandela is a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues.
After being defeated several times in local elections and fading away for years, Shih is now trying to make a political comeback. His anti-Chen actions have received criticism all over Taiwan and he has lost the respect of his former comrades and friends.
The only similarity between Mandela and Shih is that they were both jailed by their then-repressive governments. There are absolutely no other similarities between them.
Shih comes nowhere near Mandela in terms of personality, character, behavior, personal accomplishments, contribution to humanity or the degree of respect held by people around the world.