Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Shih's ex-wife displays letter to Chiang

HIDDEN MESSAGE Shih Ming-teh's spokesman said that the letter couldn't have been written by Shih and if it was, it must have been penned under some duress

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shih Ming-teh's first wife, Chen Li-chu, yesterday holds up a jacket on which Shih wrote a letter to dictator Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling.

PHOTO: CNA

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) first wife yesterday made public a letter Shih allegedly wrote during his incarceration to dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) asking for his forgiveness as well as a similar letter written on the inside of a jacket.

"They said he [Shih] did not write the letter, but I want to tell you that he did and I have the original to prove it," said Chen Li-chu (陳麗珠), pulling out two sheets of yellowish paper from a black bag.

Shih had written the original in pencil and had given it to Chen to smuggle out of prison, after which it had been transcribed in ink.

Chen said that her disclosure of the letter had nothing to do with the fundraising campaign Shih initiated to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"I'm here because I can no longer accept his moral posturing nor put up with his family's verbal abuse," she said.

Ho De-fen (賀德芬), a spokesman for Shih's campaign, said she believed it was unlikely that Shih had written the letter and that even if Shih had, he must have been forced to do so.

Chen Li-chu yesterday said that even if Shih had been forced to write the letter on the paper, the one inside the jacket she brought him during his imprisonment must have been written voluntarily.

Chen said Shih returned the jacket, telling her that it was too small and needed adjustment. When she removed the lining, she discovered the letter inside addressed to Chiang and his wife, Soong Mei-ling (宋美齡).

Meanwhile, Sisy Chen (陳文茜), a talk-show host and good friend of Shih, yesterday said that Shih did not remember writing such a letter on paper but did remember writing on the lining. She, however, said the DPP was using Chen Li-chu to divert the focus of the campaign.

Shih's second wife, Linda Gail Arrigo, who showed up at the legislature yesterday, told Chen Li-chu she did not think it was a good idea to reveal such an archaic personal tale to the public.

Chen Li-chu yesterday tearfully recounted getting pregnant at a young age by Shih, and alleged she had suffered verbal and physical abuse from Shih's family, including ruptured ribs and a head wound at the hands of Shih's brother, Shih Ming-hsin (施明信).

Describing Chen Li-chu as a "difficult person to get along with," Shih Ming-hsin said that the incident happened over 40 years ago when he was 13. He said that he hit her because she scolded his mother.

Chen Li-chu's daughter Teresa Shih (施珮君), who was also at the news conference, said that the disclosure of the letter and lining was only aimed at presenting the truth.

"Even if we pull my father down, the sit-in he has organized would continue." she said. "We are here to straighten out the lies and slanderous attacks on my mother."

With regard to the NT$2 million (US$60,900) President Chen reportedly gave Shih Ming-teh to help pay for his daughter Shih Shueh-hui's (施雪蕙) medical expenses, Teresa Shih said that she only knew that her father paid NT$100,000 for the medical expenses and they did not get any more money.

Media reports, quoting DPP legislators, claimed that aside from the NT$2 million, Shih Ming-teh had borrowed another NT$1 million to NT$1.5 million from the president.

In a bid to allay the controversy over the money, Shih Ming-teh's cousin, Shih Chao-ron (陳肇榮), yesterday tried to return NT$2 million to President Chen but was turned down by the Presidential Office's Petition Office. He then mailed the check at the nearby post office.

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