Sun, Mar 20, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen looks back at day of shooting

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Away from the hubbub in Taipei, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday spent a warm and peaceful day in southern Taiwan, visiting a Buddhist monastery and the Lioukuei Orphanage in Kaohsiung.

At the orphanage, Chen spoke about the assassination attempt on him and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on March 19 last year.

"It is God's will," Chen said, that he was able to escape the election-eve attack.

"It has been one year since that shooting incident. Since then I have become convinced that my life was spared through the grace of God," he said. "After the shooting, I realized that my life does not belong to me, my wife nor my children, but to this land and the people of Taiwan."

Chen said that he is looking forward to having the truth about the shooting uncovered, and that he has never opposed the establishment of the special committee to investigate the incident.

"I support a truth investigation special committee if it is established in conformity to the Constitution," he said, apparently referring to the Council of Grand Justices' ruling last December that some of the clauses of the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會條例) were unconstitutional and that they should be scrapped.

"Just like I was not afraid of the vote recount, owing to the fact that I didn't fake the ballots, I am not afraid of an investigation into the shooting incident, as it was not my doing," Chen said.

He said that both Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) or People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) would be good candidates to head such a committee.

While repeating that he would like to know who wanted to have him killed, Chen said that he would not interfere in the investigation, but would let it go where the evidence takes it.

Chen expressed his gratitude for the investigation task force's efforts and urged the public to support the investigators while recognizing their hard work.

In response to questions that have been raised by pan-blue supporters about why he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest on the day of the shooting, Chen said that it was not unusual at all.

"Because I never believed that something like an assassination attempt on the president would happen in Taiwan, I did not wear a bullet-proof vest at any of my campaign events during that period," he said.

In response to a question about why there were no blood stains on his underwear despite the fact that he had been shot in his lower abdomen, Chen said it has been his habit to wear his underpants much lower than his stomach.

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