Thu, Apr 11, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Chang apologizes to his former wife

ASSUAGING THE PUBLIC In an apparent attempt to protect his own political viability, the former premier publicly apologized for how he treated his ex-spouse

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

In a move seen as an attempt to safeguard his own political career, former premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday apologized to his former wife as criticism of his treatment of her continued.

"I'd like to apologize to my ex-wife and my family for causing so much pain and trouble for them," Chang said.

Chang made the remarks yesterday morning after paying his respects to Yu Chi-chung (余紀忠), the late founder of the Chinese-language daily, the China Times. Yu died of liver cancer on Tuesday.

When asked whether the controversy would affect his future political career, Chang, currently serving as an advisor to the president, said that he would leave the question to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"I totally respect the president's decisions," Chang said.

In regard to the Chang divorce fracas, a group of women activists in Kaohsiung, led by City Councilwoman Yang Si-yu from the opposition PFP, yesterday condemned Chang for his behavior, which they described as "providing the worst example to society on the issue of gender equality."

Yang questioned the justness of Chang's decision to divorce just before his expected nomination by the president to serve as Examination Yuan president.

News broke on Sunday that Chang had finally married his mistress of three decades, Chu Ah-yi (朱阿英) last month, after divorcing his long-estranged wife, Hsu Jui-yin (徐瑞英), in February.

Critics said that Chang's divorce was conducted for political reasons because of his interest in becoming Examination Yuan president.

Examination Yuan members will be replaced when their six-year terms expire next month.

The president will nominate 19 members from the list and is expected to make public the nominations early next month.

According to the Constitution, Examination Yuan commissioners are nominated by the president and must then be approved by the legislature.

Chang said that he finally decided to divorce his first wife because he wanted to end his family's torment.

"I knew the decision was bound to spark public criticism, but I'd really hate to prolong the situation any longer," he said.

Chang had been openly living with his mistress for the past 30 years, but officially remained married to Hsu.

Chang dismissed criticism that he picked the wrong time to deal with his complicated marital life.

"As a public figure, it was hard to imagine a time when dealing with the problem wouldn't result in criticism," he said.

The decision to divorce, Chang said, had been approved by the entire family and was the desire of the entire family.

"They expressed their wishes that I end my broken marriage when I was appointed premier last year," Chang said.

"Although I knew I would receive criticism if I decided to divorce, I was willing to shoulder the blame, because I didn't want to see them suffer any longer."

Chang's marital status has brought him much misery during his political career, especially during election campaigns, as his rivals would take every opportunity to sarcastically refer to his sleeping on "double pillows."

Even though Chang rose to the prominent position of premier, his marital status was still a nightmare. When the President Chen presided over state banquets, Chang was the only one out of the presidents of the five branches of government who was not accompanied by a spouse.

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