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Fri, Apr 06, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP woos TV star

STAR POWER Party members say Chiang Hsia should have no trouble winning a legislative seat in southern Taiwan, but the actress denies she wants to enter politics

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The DPP has stars in its eyes and is attempting to enlist actress Chiang Hsia (江霞) to run for a legislative seat representing Pingtung County, local media reported yesterday.

But Chiang, a board member of Taiwan Television (TTV) and long-time backer of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said she wasn't likely to run.

"I have never planned to get involved in politics and the DPP has never talked to me about that either," Chiang told reporters yesterday, saying the reports were just speculation.

Chiang said that she would like to focus her efforts on reforming TTV. She added, however, that audience members of a radio call-in show in southern Taiwan did suggest on the air that she run for the legislature.

DPP candidate for legislator at-large Chiu Chang (邱彰) said yesterday that she had highly recommended Chiang to the Presidential Office and the party. Chiu noted that Chiang has starred in many Hokkien-language soap operas that are popular among people in southern Taiwan.

Given Chiang's star power and grass-roots background, Chiu said, the television actress should have little problem getting elected.

Chiang also has the backing of first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍), according to Power News (勁報). The newspaper reported that Wu has personally tried to persuade Chiang to run, and many top-ranking executives at Formosan Television have also lent their support.

But Hsu Jen-tu (許仁圖), the DPP's deputy secretary-general, yesterday poured cold water on speculation that Chiang would run, saying "the possibility is slim."

The DPP is in need of a female to represent its field of candidates for the Pingtung County constituency.

In Sunday's party primary elections, three of the DPP's four slots were awarded to males: incumbent legislators Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) and Cheng Tsao-min (鄭昭明) and Lin Yu-sheng (林育生).

According to party rules, at least one out of every four candidacies must go to a woman to encourage their participation in politics.

In the December general election, the top seven vote-getters will represent Pingtung County.

Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), a Pingtung native who was once tapped to run at home after losing her candidacy in the southern Taipei District, said yesterday that she had not ruled out the possibility of running for legislator in Pingtung County.

Chiu questioned yesterday whether Chiang was qualified to represent the DPP, noting that the actress wasn't even a party member.

A self-proclaimed revolutionary, Chiang drew attention by stumping for Chen Shui-bian as early as 1995 in the Taipei mayoral election -- at a time when most entertainers tended to support the KMT.

After Chen won the presidential election, Chiang was given a board seat at the KMT-dominated TTV.

An actress for 30 years, Chiang recently brought to light the entertainment industry's "red envelop culture," whereby bribes are paid to television executives to ensure that programs are put on the air.

The revelations have generated controversy over the management of television stations in Taiwan.

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