Two senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members were expelled by the party’s Central Disciplinary Committee yesterday for making harmful remarks about the party — a violation of the three-year suspension handed down to them for attending a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum earlier this month.
Six of the 11 committee members held a provisional meeting yesterday and unanimously agreed to expel former DPP Legislator Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑) and former minister of agriculture Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗), committee chairman Chen Chin-teh (陳金德) said.
The pair’s recent presence at the annual KMT-CCP forum held in Hunan Province drew much condemnation from the party, which prohibited incumbent party officials and ranking members from taking part in the event because of China’s “united front” tactic.
Hsu and Fan, however, insisted that they had done nothing wrong and the party was being unreasonable in punishing them. They argued their action was motivated by their love for Taiwan.
Last Thursday, going against a recommendation by the Central Standing Committee to revoke the pair’s memberships, the disciplinary committee decided to suspend them for three years considering their past contributions and their contrite attitude, but on condition they would cease making public comments or taking any action that could damage the party.
“However, rather than obeying the terms of their suspension, the two went on political talk shows that very night and made disparaging comments against the party. They knew perfectly well that they were barred from attending the event and they also knew perfectly well that they had violated their suspension,” Chen said.
The day after the suspension, four committee members co-sponsored a supplementary resolution to strip Hsu and Fan of their membership at yesterday’s provisional committee meeting. The pair was also invited to appear before the committee to defend themselves, but neither showed up.
Fan announced his withdrawal from the party yesterday morning, but asked the committee to go easy on Hsu.
“It is clear that I don’t have any future in the party, so there is no reason for the committee to waste time on me,” he said, adding he had done nothing wrong by attending the forum and urged the DPP to establish a China policy in order to “decriminalize and normalize” interactions between both sides of the Strait.
The party needs to face the fact of an economically emerging China and it should place the welfare of Taiwanese above its political interests, he said.
Hsu was reportedly in Hong Kong and her office did not offer any written response to her expulsion. Last week, Hsu told reporters she firmly believed that what she did was right and that she would gladly accept any future invitations to go to China.
Fan and Hsu said they went to the forum, but did not actively participate because neither spoke during the meeting.
According to the DPP’s rules of procedure, decisions made by the Central Disciplinary Committee are final, and members who want to contest them can go to arbitration to argue procedural error. Chen, however, was confident the committee had followed the rules precisely.