A letter allegedly written by Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) wife, Lee Shu-jen (李淑珍), reportedly described the students who are leading hundreds in the anti-cross-strait trade pact occupation of the legislative chamber as “nihilists and authoritarian leaders.”
The letter’s writer was “astonished” at the protesters’ behavior and found them “appalling.”
The Executive Yuan said yesterday that Lee wrote a letter about the student movement in response to letters from her students and friends, but it would not confirm whether the letter posted on Professional Technology Temple (PTT) — the nation’s largest online academic bulletin board, was written by the premier’s wife.
Lee is an associate professor at National Taipei University of Education.
The letter dated Wednesday was posted on PTT at 00:59am on Saturday by “ace36183618,” who said a friend’s mother got the letter directly from Lee.
Without naming student leaders, Lee said that students were opposed to the pact escaping review in accordance with due process, while “they acted as if they were above the law.”
“The demands the student leaders came up with have been ever-changing. They become pretentious. They turned down [the government’s offer to] sit down and talk and have harshly accused others of lacking sincerity,” the letter said.
The letter said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has repeatedly given in to student demands, but the protesters were insatiable.
The students burst into the legislative chamber on March 18, the day after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) took just 30 seconds to announce that the pact had cleared the committee review, although critics say none of the articles had been deliberated at the committee stage.
The letter says that since then, Lee had been to the Legislative Yuan in Taipei three times.
The letter describes a chat with Jiang after her first visit on March 30, in which when she reportedly told Jiang that the government might as well give up pushing through the agreement, since the young people “didn’t feel grateful.”
According to the letter, Jiang told her that some Cabinet members were at some point so disappointed that they wanted to renounce the agreement although it would have hurt the nation’s bids to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Young people would only realize how badly scrapping the pact now would affect the nation’s economic development when they are about to graduate and cannot find a job, the letter quoted Jiang as saying.
The letter said the confrontation over the pact was the most serious “democratic civil war (民主內戰)” since the “two-bullets incident” in the 2004 presidential election, referring to the shooting at then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) on the eve of the election that the KMT believed was orchestrated by the then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
The posters, leaflets and other materials used to decorate the protest site showed that the activists were “mainly inspired by anti-cross-strait service trade agreement, anti-Ma or anti-China sentiments,” the letter said.
The letter said that if she was asked to comment on the PR material, she would say that the young people were “talented, creative, and full of potential.”