Mon, Mar 08, 2004 - Page 1 News List

DPP appropriates `black gold' theme

CL EANING UP Faced with embarrassment over their past record, the pan-blues changed the theme of an anti-corruption rally leaving the DPP to pick up the idea

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday it would hold a march against "black gold" in Kaohsiung on March 13, the same day as a march planned by the pan-blue camp.

"Since the pan-blue camp doesn't have the guts to address the issue, we, the DPP, feel obligated to take up the cause for the sake of the nation's economic, political and social development," said DPP campaign spokesman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁).

Wu made the remark in response to the pan-blue alliance's move to change the theme of its March 13 rally from "anti-black-gold politics" to "change the president, save Taiwan and oppose Chen Shui-bian" (換總統、救台灣、三一三反扁大嗆聲).

The alliance hopes the rally will draw over 2 million people, seeking to compete with the turnout of the DPP's human-chain rally.

President Chen Shiu-bian (陳水扁) yesterday mocked the theme of the blue camp's rally.

"While they themselves are `black gold,' it's a ridiculous irony that they wanted to organize a march appealing to the eradication of `black gold' politics," Chen told a grassroots campaign rally in Taipei City's Tatung District.

Wu said the DPP's decision to organize a march against "black gold" shows its determination to eliminate dirty politics.

"We're thinking of hanging up the pictures and names of the nation's 10 most wanted fugitives to show the government's determination to catch fugitives and to encourage the public to help the government wipe out `black gold,'" he said.

DPP Legislator Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said at a press conference yesterday that, "It was a joke that the pan-blue bloc wanted to launch an anti-black-gold march while over 45 percent of the public considered it synonymous with `black-gold.'"

The blue camp changed the name of the march because it knew it was not in a position to make such an appeal, Chen Chin-jun said. He said he wondered why the blue camp, if it did care about Taiwan, was absent from the Hand-in-Hand Rally on Feb. 28.

"No matter what name it changes the march to, it still opposes reforms," he said. "If it genuinely wants to push for reforms, it should return its NT$190 billion of [stolen] assets back to the people."

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) denied the alliance had ever committed to the anti-black-gold theme.

Lee's remark contradicted those of PFP Legislator Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國), who doubles as the KMT-PFP alliance's spokesman, who said last week the March 13 event would be used to combat "black gold" and corruption.

Lee said people confused the march with a campaign against "black gold" because when PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) first spoke of the march in a speech last week, he was questioning the relationship between the DPP and fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪).

"Besides, we don't think being against `black gold' alone encompasses the scope of our appeal and dissatisfaction with the performance of the DPP," KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said at a press conference with Lee and other pan-blue legislators.

Hung called on those who found the performance of the Chen administration unsatisfactory to join the march this coming Saturday.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) last week called the alliance's planned march an absurd activity, saying it doesn't make sense for the people responsible for "black gold" to oppose it.

additional reporting by Huang Tai-lin

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