Sun, Jun 22, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Chuang vows to hold hunger strike

PROTEST After losing his job as a university professor over comments he made during the presidential election, Chuang Kuo-rong is now adopting a defiant approach

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chuang Kuo-rong (莊國榮), former Ministry of Education secretary-general, said yesterday he would show his penitence for insulting President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his family by staging a hunger strike in front of the Presidential Office starting July 1.

Chuang caused a storm of controversy during the presidential campaign in March, when he used a profanity to imply Ma’s late father had a salacious relationship with his goddaughter.

When then Democratic Progressive Party candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) suffered a landslide defeat, some people blamed Chuang and his caustic remarks for turning voters away. Chuang resigned from the ministry and has since returned to his post as assistant professor at National Chengchi University (NCCU).

However, the school decided on Thursday not to renew his contract, saying his behavior during the election period had disgraced the institution.

“There was no need for the school to use such superficial standards to rob someone of their right to work,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Mocking Ma as the “emperor,” Chuang said: “I thought it was permissible to criticize a president of a democratic country, but I didn’t know that Taiwan’s presidents such as Chiang Kai-Shek (蔣介石), Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Ma were semi-deities, like the Japanese royal family.”

Given which, he said he decided to make his apology by staging a hunger strike starting next month, until Ma and his family forgave him.

Upon learning of his plans, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday ridiculed Chuang, telling him not to act irrationally if he wanted to return to the educational field.

“I think Chuang should go see a psychiatrist and get some counseling,” KMT Leigslator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said when asked for comment.

KMT legislators Chiu Yi (邱毅) and Justin Chou (周守訓) both said that Chuang was damaging his career prospects.

“If he continues making a fool out of himself like this, I am afraid that he will say goodbye to his teaching career,” Chiu said.

In related news, another pan-green official might be forced to terminate his teaching post at NCCU, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday.

Taiwan representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who taught at NCCU’s Institute of International Relations prior to his governmental post, was rumored to have been rejected by the school when he applied to return to the institute, the report said.

Wu tendered his resignation on May 20 upon the inauguration of the KMT administration.

The Liberty Times report said that Wu’s application was approved two out of three times by the school review committee, but was rejected at the final review.

The institute denied that the school had rejected Wu’s application but rather, that it had decided to withdraw Wu’s application because someone on the committee had informed the institute that Wu was not eligible to resume his teaching post, because he had not published any academic papers in the last five years as required by the school, the report said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH

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