Mon, Mar 21, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Scholar chosen as nation's representative to Germany

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉), a professor of German language at Soochow University, has been tapped as the country's new representative to Germany and will take up the post in May.

Known for his passion for politics and talent for hosting large-scale campaign activities and talk shows, the 55-year-old academic is a familiar face to those who attended the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) rallies during last year's presidential election.

Shieh, a second-generation Mainlander but a close ally of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), was born in Keelung in 1955, with his father coming from China's Guangdong Province and his mother from Kaohsiung. He obtained his PhD in German literature at the Ruhr University in Bochum in Germany in 1987.

"I spent nearly nine years studying and doing research in Germany. It is a country I am familiar with. I will bring Taiwan with me to Germany. My visions [for the job] develop through my recollections of the past," Shieh said in a phone interview.

Shieh campaigned for the DPP in elections and hosted fundraising functions for the Taiwan Advocate, a think tank initiated by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), driven by a sense of a mission to bring the Taiwanese people to recognize the country's sovereignty.

Shieh once told The Journalist magazine "no matter how bad the DPP is, it is still better than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in its best shape."

However, so far the academic has not joined any political party.

As the country's top diplomat to Germany, Shieh noted that he would represent neither the pan-green camp nor the pan-blue camp.

"I stand for Taiwan alone," he said.

Over the past few years, Chen and the DPP have repeatedly tried to recruit Shieh to join the administration. Hsieh has been offered posts such as the head of the Government Information Office and the National Youth Commission. The academic rejected them all.

Government positions, commented The Journalist, are not Shieh's purpose in campaigning for the DPP.

In Shieh's third book, Life Book (來不集), which was published last year, the scholar said he searched his past "in nearly a repentant and remorseful mood."

The book, whose Chinese title means "too late," is a collection of short essays Shieh wrote over the last three years.

"What propelled me to write these essays was a sense that it is getting `too late' to undo some things. Some mistakes have been made and there is nothing I can do about them now," Shieh wrote.

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