Lee Teng-hui is criticized in book by former friends

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Feb 10, 2001 - Page 3

Former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) special fondness for Japan and his attempts to sever Taiwan's ties with China were strongly criticized in a book released yesterday entitled Love, Hate Lee Teng-hui (愛憎李登輝).

The book details the change in the relationship between Lee, former Control Yuan president Wang Tso-yung (王作榮) and Tai Kuo-hui (戴國煇), who served for three years on the National Security Council. It was narrated by Wang and Tai and compiled by Hsia Chen (夏珍), a reporter with the China Times.

At a press conference held yesterday to launch the book, Wang outspokenly condemned Lee's attempts to "de-Sinicize" by attacking everything pertaining to China as if he were Japanese.

"Lee's purpose, as though he were Japanese, to negate Chinese culture and Chinese history is regrettable ? [Lee] tended to exaggerate the contribution made by Japan to Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era. It's almost as though what makes Taiwan what it is today should all be attributed to Japanese colonization, a viewpoint with which I disagree," Wang said.

"There is no need nowadays to be hostile to the Japanese [for their encroachment upon China during World War II], but the historic lessons should be remembered by future generations."

"My husband [Tai] was worried that Lee's pro-Japanese position would have a bad influence in society, especially at a time when the younger generation seems to be so taken with Japanese culture," said Lin Tsai-mei (林彩美), attending yesterday's news conference on behalf of her late husband, who passed away on Jan 9.

The story dates back to 1970, when the three men first met and became close friends due to their common sense of duty towards society as intellectuals. But the comradeship deteriorated after 1996 when Lee became Taiwan's first democratically elected president, because of differences in their political beliefs and how they viewed history.

"Lee, Tai and myself, born into the same epoch, had much in common. We considered ourselves intellectuals and felt a strong sense of responsibility to our society. We loved Lee Teng-hui back then," said Wang.

"Yet when he proposed `special state-to-state relations' (兩國論) with China, made known his endorsement of Taiwan's independence from China and wiped out all of the KMT's contributions to Taiwan, [Tai and I] acquired a dislike for him."

Wang, aged 82, told a room full of journalists that at this stage in his life, he asked nothing of the government, and that everything he said was true and rooted in his conscience.