Biographer maintains Lu was real victim of scandal

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Feb 28, 2001 - Page 2

Instead of being the alleged source behind rumors meant to sully the reputation of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is really the victim of the entire incident, journalist Wu Chung-hsin (吳忠信) claims.

"The real source of the rumors is an official from the Presidential Office, who always turns [his or her] head away when [he or she] sees the vice president. Lu is actually the scapegoat in the scandal," Wu said at a press conference yesterday for the launch his new book, The Arrogance of Self-Righteousness (權力的傲慢).

"This is a despicable measure taken by presidential aides to attack Lu."

Wu was referring to the scandal that erupted last November when The Journalist (新新聞週報), a weekly magazine, published a story that accused Lu of telling a senior journalist the president was having an extramarital affair with one of his close aides.

There have been widespread allegations that the vice president keeps in close contact with the media and talks about the president's personal life behind his back.

"It is my understanding that the vice president is very hospitable and enjoys being around people," Wu said. "There are usually four or five journalists around whenever I meet with her. How can she gossip about the president's private life under such circumstances? Common sense tells you she can't."

Wu said that it was his understanding that the true source behind the rumors was an official in the Presidential Office who spoke with Yang Chao (楊照), the editor in chief of the magazine, in person.

Chao has claimed that Lu telephoned him to tell him the president was having an affair.

Yang wasn't available yesterday to comment on Wu's remarks to clear up the discrepancy.

"Lu's [disagreeable] public image is one thing, but when you dig below the surface you find she is completely different. The vice president took the blame for someone else, and it would be unfair for her if the truth was never disclosed," Wu said.

But Wu declined to identify the name of the official, despite the barrage of questions from reporters. The Presidential Office declined to comment on Wu's allegations yesterday.

Wu, who had once been a political advisor to Chen, is the author of Son of Taiwan (臺灣之子), a biography of Chen. He said his relationship with Chen deteriorated after Chen took office last May because of "Chen's arrogance` after becoming the president."

Wu blames the president's questionable management style and personality for the current political chaos.