Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Shih gives disturbing interview

By David Min 敏洪奎

In his interview with Time magazine correspondent Natalie Tso (Oct. 16 issue), former political prisoner and Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh(施明德) made some amazing remarks in his effort to justify the giant rallies he organized, which became the nightmare (and "daymare") of Taipei residents.

Answering a question about why he did not choose to leave the issue of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) integrity to the courts to decide, Shih made this remark, "[But] Taiwan's judiciary is not fair and just."

This is a very serious allegation that should be backed up by some solid evidence, not by suspicions, hearsay and the populist rantings of some bloodthirsty media personalities. Is Shih in possession of such evidence, or at least aware of its existence?

In another remark Shih said, "[But] when the legislators and president don't have the trust of the people and they [the people] have to wait till their term is over, that hurts the country more."

By this strange logic perhaps both US President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac should be removed immediately, since neither of them enjoys particularly good popularity ratings these days.

If Shih is unhappy with some of the legislators, what he should do is to mobilize enough of their constituents to vote for their recall. If he is unhappy with the president, then he and his friends should lobby the Legislative Yuan to censure and remove Chen. Self-styled "people's power" is but an euphemism for street power.

The most distressing remark Shih made during the entire interview was this: "But if President Chen doesn't resign, there will be no peace and stability in Taiwan."

No matter how noble Shih's intentions, this sounds like nothing but naked blackmail. One wonders what got into our romantic hero, our shining knight.

Shih played a significant part in making this country a democracy. One can only hope in his declining years he will show some more respect for the banner under which he once marched.

David Min is a political commentator based in Taipei.

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