Mon, Dec 15, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chen accuses Bush of double-standards

ON THE ROAD In a busy day of campaigning, the DPP's presidential candidate also said he wanted to increase turnout in Tainan, which voted overwhelmingly for him in 2000

BY Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN TAINAN

An hour after the US announced the capture of Saddam Hussein, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) congratulated the US for what he called "a big victory" in the US anti-terrorism campaign.

But, at a mass rally in his hometown of Tainan, Chen also pointed to the US' contradiction in promoting democracy in Iraq but blocking the Taiwanese people's right to pursue democracy, apparently referring to US opposition to the issues he has proposed asking in next year's referendum.

"The US waged a war in Iraq in order to give the Iraqi people democracy. Why can't the Taiwanese people vote to ask China to dismantle its missiles aimed at Taiwan and renounce the use of force against our country in a referendum?" Chen asked at a campaign rally last night in Hsinying, Tainan County.

"Why does the US restrict our rights to pursue democracy?" he said.

He said that US President George W. Bush's open rebuke of him at his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) last week had resulted in sharp questions from foreign correspondents on US democratic values at a White House press conference.

Embarking on a busy campaign schedule following his nomination last week as presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chen traveled yesterday to his hometown to appeal for support from his townsfolk. Residents of Tainan County provided Chen his highest levels of support in the 2000 presidential election.

He attended temple worship in his hometown of Kuantien township, Tainan County; established official campaign headquarters in Tainan City and Tainan County; and last night participated in a massive campaign rally in Tainan County's stadium.

One day after the pan-blue alliance, composed of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party, set up campaign offices in Tainan, the DPP inaugurated its campaign headquarters in Tainan City and County as well, apparently engaging in competition with the pan-blue camp in their fight for support in Tainan.

Both the DPP and the pan-blue camp have emphasized their connections with Tainan, which is home to both Chen and Lien Chan (連戰), the pan-blue alliance's presidential candidate and the chairman of the KMT.

Lien was born in China but moved to Tainan City with his family at the age of three.

Chen yesterday urged his supporters in Tainan City and Tainan County, two of his biggest strongholds, to boost their areas' support of his candidacy, respectively, to 65 percent and 70 percent.

Speaking at the opening of his Tainan County campaign headquarters, Chen pressed his local campaign director, Tainan County Commissioner Su Huang-chih (蘇煥智), to boost the DPP's rate of support in Tainan County to at least 70 percent.

It is widely rumored that Chen is dissatisfied with Su's public approval rate, which in a recent nationwide poll was lowest in the nation.

"Tainan City supporters have said they want to strive for 65 percent of the vote," he said. "Here in my hometown in Tainan County, we can't lose. Let's set a goal of 70 percent."

"We are optimistic that our support in both areas can exceed 60 percent," said DPP legislator Wang Hsin-nan (王幸男), whose electoral constituency is in Tainan County. "Many voters in Tainan are elderly. We believe the DPP administration's having increased old-age pensions will have a lot of appeal here and can help us win votes."

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