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Mon, Oct 08, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Candidates say criticism still a must

ELECTION HOPEFULS Former student leaders now affiliated with the DPP say they won't be afraid to criticize the party if they win office

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former student-movement activists seeking to garner seats in the year-end legislative polls pledged to fulfill their duties as legislators, if elected, with the the same critical mind-set they held 10 years ago when pushing for campus reforms.

A dozen student-movement leaders in the 1980s and 90s -- some who are already legislators, while others are seeking to enter the legislature for the first time -- conceded that the ruling DPP administration is flawed in some aspects. Although they have close ties with the DPP, they assured voters that once elected they would not sacrifice their integrity to endorse potentially flawed government policies.

"[For the past year] the DPP has been trying to perform well, but reality shows that they are not doing a sufficiently good job," said Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉), a legislative candidate who surprised the public in January when he quit his position as a Cabinet member to join the race.

"If I am given a chance to enter the Legislative Yuan this year, I will not invariably side with the government because to do so would only drive the DPP's votes away. I will make sure to tell the government the truth, if they are found to be in the wrong," Luo said

Sharing similar views, DPP lawmaker Wang Hsueh-feng (王雪峰) acknowledged that it was easier to be a legislator on the opposition side because finding faults is more in line with her spirit as a student-movement activist.

But she said times have changed. Although being a member of the ruling party, the 37-year-old legislator seeking her third term promised that she would continue to make good on her duties as a legislator, evaluating the government's implementation from a rational, yet critical perspective.

Luo and Wang, along with a score of their comrades who fought for democracy in their college years, made the comments while appearing at a book-release ceremony yesterday. Others appearing at the event were DPP legislators Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), and Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟), as well as Taipei City Councilor Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and political analyst Julian Kuo (郭正亮). All of them are legislative candidates nominated by the DPP.

The book, entitled Student Movement Generation (學運世代), penned by a senior journalist, detailed the transformation of 42 former student-movement campaigners over the past 10 years. Once getting their names in Taiwan's history for their devotion to campus and social reforms, 10 years later they have excelled in many fields, particularly in politics. Many of them, in spite of their youth, have held significant positions in the government.

Taiwan's student movement was launched in the 1980s when university students requested democracy on campus. In March 1990 over 5,000 college students gathered at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza to protest against the KMT-controlled regime. They demanded the abolition of the National Assembly, an end to the "temporary provisions effective during the period of national mobilization for suppression of the communist rebellion" (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) declared in 1949, and the holding of a National Affairs Conference to work out the methods and timetable for Taiwan's transformation into a democracy.

The demonstration did not end until six days later when then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) promised reform at a one-hour meeting with the student leaders.

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