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Fri, May 19, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Rights workers who helped Lu arrive for inauguration

By Liu Shao-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER

Four members from Amnesty International USA (AI-USA), who had campaigned for the release of Vice President-elect Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) when she was jailed two decades ago, arrived yesterday to participate in tomorrow's inauguration. The group came to congratulate Lu on becoming vice president, and to deliver a copy of AI's 2001 calendar as a gift. Lu is featured for the month of February.

"We cannot forget history," Lu said, in tears. "If it had not been for so many acquaintances and strangers around the world [at that time], I would not be here, elected as vice president."

Lu was apprehended following the "Kaohsiung Incident" (美麗島事件) in 1979. Amnesty International concluded that Lu and the seven other prominent figures arrested had been nonviolent dissidents, and it thereafter brought public attention to the situation.

The four members had been part of the AI-USA Group 101, located at Albuquerque, New Mexico, that was assigned by AI headquarters to work on Lu's case. The group campaigned for Lu by mailing petitions to people around the world for six years until 1986, the year she was released.

The group collected copies of news reports on the case, as well as articles and postcards produced at the time, and gave them to Lu yesterday as a tribute. They said they had distributed 20,000 postcards during the six years.

Looking at the memorabilia, Lu recalled in an emotional statement: "When I was in jail, the mail I received from all over the world touched me deeply because I knew there were so many people concerned about me.

"I appeal to the public not to forget history," Lu said, "These kinds of achievements are based on people's endeavors ... human rights campaigns are invaluable."

Looking back at her 1,993 days in jail, Lu said she knitted several sweaters to pass the time and also wrote two novels -- penned mainly on toilet paper.

"All these memories I recall are are so beautiful," said Lu.

In spite of China's recent broadsides against her pro-independence stance, Lu said: "I have undergone all sorts of tough times since the Incident. Any storm from either within or without Taiwan that targets me over the next four years -- I will just dismiss them all with laughter," Lu said.

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