Sun, Feb 29, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Lu and Soong square off on TV

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The two vice-presidential candidates, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday took turns expressing their political views on TV.

Both of the candidates were allocated 30 minutes to defend their policies on the program, which was televised by Public Television and hosted by the Central Election Commission.

Soong, who delivered his statements first, said that he and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) will serve the people of Taiwan with professionalism if they are elected.

Soong said the KMT-PFP alliance will share power with different political parties and ethnic groups in an effort to maximize the benefits to the people of Taiwan.

Soong and Lien will endeavor to establish "the reconstruction of reliability," to restore people's confidence in the nation's leader and its future, since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "five noes" and "volatile" statements have hurt Taiwan's reputation.

"People need a president who tells the truth and works for them," said Soong, adding that the cooperation between himself and Lien was an alliance with real power that could stabilize Taiwan's economy and promote national development.

Soong also offered his condolonces to the families of the victims of the 228 Incident.

Lu delivered her political views after Soong. Lu said that the two candidates presented a conspicuous contrast in their historical roles in the course of Taiwan's democratization.

Lu said that the 228 Incident which happened 57 years ago was the prelude to a sanguinary period in the history of Taiwan. Lu said the KMT made millions of Taiwanese people suffer during the White Terror era and forced Taiwan to become an orphan in international society.

Fortunately, Lu said, the DPP won the presidential election in 2000 after the people of Taiwan suffered from the KMT's corruption for 50 years, and the party has since continued to dedicate itself to the promotion of democracy and human rights in Taiwan.

Lu said that Soong devastated Taiwan's local cultures and suppressed freedom of speech when he served as the chief of the Department of Information and the KMT's Cultural Affairs Department. Soong had prohibited people from using Hokkien and Hakka and imposed censorship on the press, making the people of Taiwan feel inferior about their culture and oblivious to their history.

"The tragedies of history can be forgiven, but they cannot be forgotten," said Lu.

Lu cited the accomplishments achieved by the Chen administration in a variety of areas, including agriculture, the economy and the education system, saying that the government spared no effort to eradicate the "black gold" system that was used by the KMT. She also said the DPP was committed to financial reform, an area in which a lot of progress had been made.

In terms of diplomacy, Lu stressed the importance of strengthening Taiwan's autonomy and the necessity of avoiding marginalization by China.

"Taiwan has to think about its future from an international angle, since China desires to create an empire through military expansion and economic conquest," said Lu.

"Taiwan now stands at a crossroads, and we have to make a wise decision whether or not to head toward China and face the fate of marginalization, or establish Taiwan as a maritime power in Asia with a macroscopic view," Lu said.

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