Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), the nation’s first directly elected president, is expected to publish an endorsement of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket in seven Chinese--language newspapers today, one of Lee’s close aides said yesterday.
The ad, to be titled “Give Taiwan a Chance,” will express Lee’s hopes for the country from his perspective as the nation’s former leader, said the aide, who asked not to be named.
Lee is of the opinion that Taiwan needs a head of state who is competent, strong, responsible, approachable and harbors compassion for the people, and that these traits are especially obvious in Taiwanese women, the aide said.
However, it is still not clear if Lee, who had a cancerous tumor removed in early November, will personally attend a campaign rally to endorse DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) before the elections on Saturday.
The aide said Lee, who turns 89 on Sunday, remains weak and he still is at risk of infection after the surgery. Even if he does appear at a rally, he will only be present for three to five minutes, the aide said.
In an advertisement yesterday, Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and 86 scientists defended Tsai’s role in the TaiMed case, calling her “capable, rational and trustworthy.”
The ad referred to Tsai’s role in the establishment of TaiMed Biologics Co (中裕新藥股份有限公司), formerly known as Yu Chang Biologics Co (宇昌生技股份有限公司), in 2007.
In March of that year, Tsai approved government investment in the new biotech venture in her capacity as vice premier. She then stepped down from her post in May and became chairwoman of the company in September.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), led by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), has accused Tsai of a conflict of interest.
Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) denied the charges at the time, saying Tsai was invited by the company’s executive team to be its chairwoman.
In a newspaper ad titled “Scientists’ conscience,” the scientists yesterday said: “The TaiMed case is a successful example of a biotech venture, but has fallen victim to a smear campaign.”
The ad was co-signed by Lee and 86 other scientists, including Patrick Yang (楊育民), executive vice president of Switzerland-based Roche, 23 Academia Sinica researchers and Hsu Chao-hui (許照惠), founder and vice chairman of US-based IVAX Corp.
The scientists also praised Tsai’s contribution to the venture, saying she had done her best for the country’s biotech development, and appealed to people to give Tsai justice.
Wong was not among the signatories to the ad.
When asked by the press for comment, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said it was understandable that Wong did not sign the statement, given his official status as head of the academy.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang and Liu Jung